We use cookies to provide vital functionality. For more information, please see our cookie policy.

Manage cookie preferences

Added 20 April 2022

For the past 13 years, Homeless Link has produced an annual review of the available support for single homelessness in England. Single homelessness people are less likely than families to be to be entitled to housing by their local authority, and therefore often have to rely on homelessness charities for accommodation, advice and other forms of support. This study provides vital evidence of the support provided by these services and is the only available data source of its kind of the homelessness sector in England.

The findings are based on five key data sources, including a representative survey of 444 accommodation projects and 61 day centres from across England. The findings provide a detailed overview of the nature and availability of key services, the challenges and opportunities faced by the sector, the needs and circumstances of the people accessing services, and the various ways in which the sector helps people move out of homelessness and achieve other positive outcomes in their lives.

Trends in single homelessness

  • The 2020 annual review covers the period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Interventions implemented throughout the year to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on those experiencing, and at risk of homelessness has caused significant changes previously observed long term trends. This is particularly true of the impact of the Everyone In scheme, introduced in March 2020, which looked to accommodate all rough sleepers and those in hostel accommodation who were unable to self-isolate and has significant impact on both numbers of people rough sleeping, accommodated in temporary accommodation and homelessness service provision throughout 2020. The figures presented in this report must be considered within this context.
  • In 2020, a total of 2,688, people were estimated to be sleeping rough in England on any given night, representing a 37% decrease from the previous year.
  • In April 2020 - June 2020 25,520 people were assessed as owed a prevention duty and 38,040 people were assessed as owed a relief duty, down by 32.1% for the same quarter last year. This is linked to 68.7% decrease those at risk of homelessness due to service of valid Section 21 Notice.
  • In April 2020 – June 2020 local authorities made 15,960 main homelessness duty decisions. 4,660 people were found not to be in priority need and were still homeless at the point their duty was discharged.

Availability of homelessness services

  • There are currently 910 accommodation projects in place for single homelessness in England.
  • A total of 1,761 day centres currently operate throughout England.
  • Homeless England data indicates that over the past year, there has been a reduction in both the number of accommodation projects (-8%) and the number of day centres (-3%).
  • The number of bed spaces in accommodation projects in England has decreased by 5% over the past year, and now stands at 32,041.
  • 56% of responding accommodation services reported no change in funding over the period from April 2019 – March 2020, with 25% reporting a decrease, and 19% reporting an increase.

Delivery of services

  • Accommodation providers and day centres provide a wide variety of services to help people address their needs. These services are delivered either in-house on the service premises, or via referral to an external agency.

Outcomes, move on, and service development

  • 72% of accommodation projects provide support to clients once they moved on, of which 77% provide informal move on support.
  • Among people accessing accommodation providers, moving into employment remains a challenge for those accessing accommodation services.
  • People accessing accommodation services face significant structural barriers in moving on from homelessness services. Respondents identified the lack of accommodation available at the Local Housing Allowance rate (74%) and being excluded from housing providers due to previous debt, or rent arrears (64%) as significant contributory barriers.