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The current state of Temporary Accommodation in England: the stats, facts and impact (November 2021)

  • 4 min read |
  • Posted by Justlife
  • On 24 November 2021

THE TOPLINE - Most Recent National Statistics (2nd Quarter (July - Sept) - 2021)

Total households in TA: 96,600 (an increase on the last quarter by +1150)
- Total in London: 60,830
- Outside of London: 35770

Households with children: 60,490
(an increase on the last quarter by +1370)
Total number of children: 124,290
(an increase on the last quarter by +4460)
Single adults: 29,020
(a decrease on the last quarter by -100)
B&B style accommodation: 10,260
(a decrease on the last quarter by - 910)

What the numbers tell us

The latest figures tell us there were 96,600 households in temporary accommodation at the end of June 2021. This is a slight decrease (of 1.7%) on the number one year previously, but continues the upward trend since 2011 that we identified in our last blog.

There’s a particular dip in the number of people placed in B&B style accommodation. An analysis by the Common’s Library November 2021 Households in Temporary Accommodation digs a little deeper into this, revealing some of the underlying causes for this change.

“Various initiatives have focused on limiting the use of unsuitable B&B-type temporary accommodation...One response has seen authorities seeking temporary accommodation outside their own areas. At the end of March 2021, 26,170 (27.4%) of Households in temporary accommodation (England) 6 Commons Library Research Briefing, 23 November 2021 households in temporary accommodation were in accommodation in a different local authority district. 82% of these placements were from London authorities”

In our recent blog , we discussed the scope of out-of-area placements, and there is increasing reporting revealing the disruption and trauma it can cause for those relocated, as well as the knock-on implications it has for councils receiving new, often vulnerable, residents whom the council is not always aware have been placed in their area - not to mention the impact these placements have on local housing availability further down the line. It is an issue that is vast in scale and complexity, and fast becoming a national one.

Worryingly the highest increases we see are numbers of children and households with children in TA. As we head into winter with increased cost of general living, and covid uncertainty still with us, we believe it is the time to look for solutions and ways to bring about changes at all levels in order to improve the lives of those who end up in TA, to shorten their stays and to change the way TA is used within the homelessness system.

How we work to make change

At Justlife we believe the answers to the issue of TA lie in both a local and national approach. Local authorities have a duty of care to those who present as homeless and a responsibility of provision of housing stock and services. National government sets policies that underpin working practice and council decision making, budgets, and sets targets to access those budgets. Such policies and budget restrictions meet with different local realities at Local Authority level, where practice and problems vary. However issues such as out-of-area placements show that not all problems can be resolved locally. In our work, we seek to influence change at both levels, and for local and national action to inform one another.

Locally, temporary accommodation action groups (or TAAGs) are solutions focused initiatives that bring together the TA stakeholders in the area to collaborate to improve the lives of those without a home. Justlife has organised or facilitated the establishment of TAAGs in Brighton, Manchester, East Sussex and Hackney, and we are looking to help more areas establish their own TAAGs. You can read more about TAAGs here.

On 7th December, in partnership with Shared Health Foundation, we will host the inaugural meeting of the Households in Temporary Accommodation APPG (All party parliamentary group). This APPG will work in an investigative and solutions-focused way to improve the lives and experiences of families and individuals living in temporary accommodation (TA) across England, and aims to shift the national understanding of homelessness to include households in temporary accommodation. You can read the full aims and objectives here.

We will also continue to gather evidence, host workshops and carry out research into the issues that underlie the current state of TA, and collaborate with other organisations, initiatives and groups working towards similar goals. You can read our research here.

Above all, we believe collaboration is one of the keys to unlocking the issues that surround TA in this country. So if you’re interested in collaborating with us, setting up a TAAG, joining the APPG or just finding out more about our national Research and Policy team and the work we do, please do get in touch.