Ending homelessness: the importance of prevention and effective move-on

Tuesday, 8 May 2018 - 6:13pm

“We know there is no single cause of homelessness but I am determined to do more to prevent it happening.”

young homeless man wearing a rucksack

These comments made by the Prime Minister, Theresa May back in 2016 perhaps mark the growing recognition among Government and the wider sector that no conversation about ending homelessness can happen without a strong focus on prevention. This has been driven by a much stronger understanding that failing to prevent homelessness is not only costly for the public purse but hugely damaging and destructive for individuals who end up homeless.

Homelessness Reduction Act 

The Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA), which came into force in April, has placed much stronger focus and responsibilities at a local level to the prevention of homelessness. Through the events we’ve run over recent months across the country on the HRA, it’s been clear there is an appetite to improve how we identify and act on the triggers to homelessness, and also ensure the voluntary sector’s role in prevention is incorporated into any plans to implement change.

Homeless Link members have been playing a key role in homelessness prevention for years. The research we’re publishing today is a timely reminder that there is much to learn from current approaches to prevention, and scope to encourage more areas to commit to early intervention. It explores a range of innovative work being undertaken by the homelessness sector to prevent people from becoming homeless and explores the key challenges that are presented by this work.


Alongside the Prevention research, we are also publishing research which examines how homelessness services support clients to ‘move-on’. The issue of ‘move on’ from homeless supported housing has been an increasing challenge for services due, in the main, to the shortage of available affordable accommodation. According to Homeless Link’s 2016 Annual Review, 30% of clients were ready to move on from supported housing but were not able to do so. In this context, homelessness service providers have had to innovate in order to increase the instances of successful move on for homeless people, and this report explores how organisations are responding to this challenge.

For the services and clients we spoke to, move-on meant many things: transitioning between accommodation towards more long-term housing, or to other forms of supported accommodation where this was needed. People also saw it as increasing confidence and resilience to become more independent. The report provides in-depth case studies about how different local services have approached the issue of move-on and some of the learning from what works.

Of course, move-on doesn’t happen in isolation from external factors which we know are creating pressure – high rental costs, low LHA rates and lack of resettlement support can all present barriers. But as the Government is looking for solutions to ending rough sleeping, we must see sustainable move-on as a key part of this. We hope the research provides some ideas and learning about how these can be achieved.

Preventing homelessness before it begins

homeless woman

Case studies from the homelessness sector


Moving on from homelessness

young man wearing a back pack

How services support people to move on: this report presents an updated picture of move on from homelessness services.