Almost 100,000 homeless households lived in temporary accommodation during the national COVID-19 lockdown between April and June this year, new government data has shown.
98,300 homeless households were living in temporary accommodation at the end of June this year – a rise of 7% in just three months, and a rise of 14% in a year.
This increase was largely driven by single-adult households, of which there were 28,840 living in temporary accommodation at the end of June, a 50.8% rise on the previous year.
17% of households given temporary accommodation by their council – 17,180 households – were placed into emergency B&Bs and hostels.
The data release revealed drops in the overall number of households assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness by councils year-on-year.
These decreases are linked to a 69% drop in the number of households served section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction notices by their landlords.
However, 38,040 households were assessed as homeless and entitled to relief from councils – a 14% increase on the same quarter the previous year, largely driven by single males.
Polly Neate, chief executive of the housing charity Shelter, said: “No one should have to battle homelessness during a global pandemic. But this has been the grim reality for increasing numbers of people this year. And as local lockdowns continue across the country, many people will be facing this nightmare afresh.
“With the economic effects of the pandemic starting to bite and unemployment rising, tragically many more people could find themselves homeless in the months ahead.
“If we don’t want the legacy of this pandemic to be one of lasting homelessness, then we need a COVID rescue plan for housing and we need it now.”
The figures reveal the extent of the ‘Everyone In’ scheme initiated by the government this spring, which saw councils told to find safe accommodation for all rough sleepers during the early months of the pandemic.
Back in March, the government also introduced a ban on private rented sector evictions which ran until late September. It has since introduced six-month notice periods on evictions until at least the end of March 2021.
While councils normally only have to offer temporary accommodation to homeless households with children or individuals with specific needs, the government’s ‘Everyone In’ scheme saw this offer extended to single-adult households, hence the specific increase linked to these households.
According to the government, 29,000 people were helped into emergency accommodation or settled accommodation by the end of September as a direct result of the ‘Everyone In’ scheme.
A government spokesperson said that its ‘decisive action’ protected renters for eviction and supported rough sleepers and vulnerable people to keep them safe during the pandemic.
“As we head into the winter we’re providing an unprecedented package of support – over £700 million this year to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping, with thousands of new, safe, longer-term homes for rough sleepers announced today,” the spokesperson added.
“Renters will continue to be protected through winter, including six-month notice periods, asking bailiffs not to enforce evictions in areas of local lockdown, as well as a pause in bailiff activity over Christmas.”