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Introduction

Every year Homeless Link produces an annual review of the available support for single homelessness in England. Single homeless 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 four key data sources, including a representative survey of accommodation providers and day centres from across England, data from the Homeless England database, and national government statistics. The comprehensive nature of this analysis allows us to assess not only the current state of single homelessness provision, but to identify and analyse historic trends.

The research is invaluable for policy makers and decision makers as it shows overall trends and changes in the accommodation volume and type that is available. Researchers can also map the longer term trends.

Findings for the most recent edition

The 2022 Report was published in September 2023. The key findings are:-

Availability of homelessness services 

  • There are currently 911 accommodation projects for single homeless people in England. The number of accommodation services has increased by 2% from last year, but is still 33% lower than a decade ago in 2012, and 38% lower than 2010
  • The increase in providers is driven by London which is the only English region to see a rise in number of accommodation projects since 2021 (16% increase). Excluding London there was 2% decrease in accommodation projects. 
  • There are 33,093 bed spaces in England, an increase of 3% from last year, and a 20% decrease from 2012, and a 24% decrease since 2010. 
  • With growing pressure on services 71% of accommodation projects reported having to turn someone away from support because their project was full
  • A total of 173 day centres currently operate throughout England. Over the past year, there has been no change in the number of day centres 

Support needs and support services available

  • 50% of accommodation providers and 79% of day centres are seeing an increase in people experiencing homelessness for the first time. 
  • Mental health was the most commonly reported support need amongst accommodation providers (81%), a 16% decrease since 2021 but a 93% increase since 2020 and an 138% increase from 5 years ago in 2017.
  • Support needs related to addiction, both drug dependency (98%) and alcohol addiction (100%) were the most common reported support needs amongst day centres.
  • Access to mental health support remains the biggest barrier for accommodation providers, with 90% of respondents stating they have a problem accessing mental health services. For day centres access to accommodation is the most significant challenge with 96% of respondents stating they have a problem accessing accommodation provision

Funding

  • Housing benefit is the most commonly cited main source of income for accommodation providers (35%), and 78% of all providers receive Housing Benefit as part of their overall income.
  • In the last decade there has been a 231% increase in Housing Benefit as a funding source for accommodation providers and a 49% decrease in local authority commissioned services. 

Move-on

  • 40% (4,243) of people currently being accommodated are waiting to move-on from their current provision into more secure, sustainable housing.
  • 51% (2,160) of people waiting to move-on have been waiting for six months or longer.
  • Lack of affordable housing, both insufficient social housing (87%) and no PRS available at LHA rates (65%) are the two main barriers to move-on reported.

Earlier editions of the Annual Review

Annual Reviews from previous years can be accessed here

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Sophie Boobis

Head of Policy and Research

Head of Policy and Research