Support For People Experiencing Single Homelessness: what the latest figures tell us

Friday, 12 June 2020 - 10:00am

Homeless Link’s Annual Review 2019 documents key information about the state of the homelessness sector in England before the outbreak of COVID-19.

The 2019 report will act as an important benchmark as, since collecting the data, the sector has adapted to support the needs of people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. It will be crucial for us to capture the effects of the changes in the next Annual Review. 

Every year thousands of people at risk of and experiencing homelessness rely on homelessness services for accommodation, advice and other forms of support. 

‘Support for People Experiencing Single Homelessness in England 2019’ captures vital evidence about who is accessing homelessness services, and the range of support provided by accommodation providers and day centres.

The Annual Review, as it is also known, continues to be a key data source about the homelessness sector in England, and key findings from the twelfth report are highlighted below.

Homelessness in numbers

·       There are currently 33,898 bed spaces available in homelessness accommodation projects – 22% fewer than 2010.

·       The number of accommodation services has decreased by 9% than the previous year.

·       77% of accommodation projects provide services to help prevent homelessness.

·       27% of accommodation projects have experienced a decrease in funding.

·       19% of accommodation projects have seen their funding increase.

Who is seeking help from services?

·       The majority of clients accessing accommodation services are male (64%). The proportion of women accessing accommodation (28%) and day centres (19%) remains relatively low.

·       35% of people accessing accommodation services and 13% of those accessing day centres are young people aged 18-25.

·       20% of people using accommodation services have experience of the criminal justice system, and 21% have previously slept rough.

·       Mental Health challenges are the most commonly reported support need for people accessing accommodation providers (42%) and day centres (50%).

What support is needed?

Findings from the Annual Review suggest that a majority of people accessing homelessness services have support needs in areas other than their housing. 53% of accommodation providers reported all of their residents had support needs beyond their accommodation needs.

Both accommodation providers (67%) and day centres (87%) help address people’s immediate and basic needs – such as providing food and washing facilities - in-house. However, support goes much beyond this, and the report shows the range of activities and interventions offered, from life skills training, welfare and debt advice to drug and alcohol services.

It is Homeless Link’s ambition that every person has a home and support they need to keep it. The Annual Review data provides an insight into the work that happens to help make this a reality, and also highlights challenges facing the sector in achieving this aim.

This year, 72% of accommodation providers in England reported that the lack of accommodation available at LHA rates[1] was a barrier to people moving on from their services. 70% of respondents specifically reported that clients being excluded by housing providers due to previous debt or rent arrears was a further barrier to moving on. At 43%, the most common move-on destination for clients is social housing, compared to the private rented sector at 12%.

Homeless Link will use this vital data to support the sector by advocating for evidence-based change and by developing our range of services for organisations both within and beyond the sector. We’d like to wholeheartedly thank all of the organisations and individuals who took the time out of their busy schedule to participate.

For more statistics on services provided, outcomes, move on and further data on the state of the sector, please download a copy of the full report or access our previous reports here.


[1] In response to COVID-19, the Government has increased the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants so that they are set at the 30th percentile of market rents. We hope to review the effects in the next annual review.

Support for people experiencing single homelessness in England: Annual Review 2019

Talk To Us

Molly Zakra

Research Officer

Molly Zakra is the Research Officer at Homeless Link