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APPG for Households in Temporary Accommodation to campaign for national regulator to improve standards

  • 5 min read |
  • Posted by Alex
  • On 18 January 2023

Why we are calling for regulation of temporary accommodation

Following the APPG for Households in Temporary Accommodation’s first meeting, a call for evidence was launched to gather written and photographic evidence of conditions in temporary accommodation (TA) from people who live in it, have lived in it or support those who do. The findings have informed the creation of a report, which you can download here.

Through case studies collected from across England, the findings include mould, health and safety risks, overcrowding and much more. The report also includes evidence gathered in collaboration with the National Child Mortality Database that suggest 34 children may have died in the past 3 years due to the conditions in the TA they were staying in.

This collection of evidence paints a clear picture of a growing population trapped in TA which is substandard, suffering additional avoidable hardship as a consequence. It also tells us that the time for action is now. As such, we are calling for change, starting with the creation of a national TA regulatory body, followed by a further 6 action points in our policy change plan.

The APPG acknowledges and supports the need for more social housing. We also recognise the need for prevention and the importance of addressing the root causes of homelessness. Therefore, our immediate work is focused on seeking solutions to improve the lives and chances of the 95,060 households currently living in TA right now. With intervention at this stage, further homelessness and harm can be prevented.

Step 1: the creation of an effective regulatory body for temporary accommodation

The evidence we have received shows standards of some Temporary Accommodation are poor and lack regulation, leading to ill health and lower standard of living. Guided by this, the APPG for Households in Temporary Accommodation will campaign for TA to be properly regulated through the creation of a national regulatory body.

The social housing regulation bill is currently going through parliament, we are calling for an amendment to be made and TA to be included in this. We believe this “easy win” could be the foundation we need to get basic, countrywide accountability and to then progress with the other steps.

The Bill must not only be limited to the Temporary accommodation used itself but to all letting agreements i.e. a tenancy and licence that a Landlord providing the TA may offer. The new regulator would enforce consumer standards.

Additionally, we would like to propose that this regulator enforce the minimum facilities outlined by the APPG. There should also be a clearly explained and user friendly process for residents to raise concerns if standards are not met, as lack of support or not knowing routes to support was raised as a concern throughout our findings.

If you are interested in getting involved in this campaign in any way, please get in touch with us:

The next steps

We believe proper regulation is the first step to build a solid foundation from which we can campaign for the further policy changes in our seven point policy plan.

The further proposed policy changes in the plan are as follows:

2. Basic facilities and adaptations provision in Temporary Accommodation

Many homeless households do not have basic facilities provided in their temporary accommodation, including bedding, white goods, furniture, wifi and safer sleeping cots for infants. This lack of provision adds to their already traumatic situation and creates a risk of further health complications and negative impact on day to day life and educational attainment, and lack of safer sleeping provision increases the chance of SIDS in infants.

Our policy ask: An update legislation and Homelessness Code of Guidance to include the minimum basic facilities and adaptations within TA outlined by the APPG.

3. Support for Local Authority Housing Officers

In order to more effectively support households experiencing homelessness, Local Authority staff require greater support to improve their own wellbeing at work.

A main issue that featured heavily from our call for evidence was “lack of support.” The homeless households felt they were unsupported. While lack of funding leading to less staff has driven up housing workers caseloads, an issue which must be addressed in and of itself, there is also an issue with frontline Housing Officers having little to no support themselves. This has been evidenced through the co-secretariats on the ground work.

Our policy ask:Support, supervision and training for Housing support staff to help them feel better equipped to deal with their jobs and support their caseloads.

4. Holistic support for people experiencing homelessness

There is a lack of support that focuses on the needs of the individuals which makes the household more entrenched in the homelessness system.

Our policy ask: A person centred approach that addresses the needs of people experiencing homelessness holistically and comprehensively, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. This would especially benefit those who identify as LGBTQ+, living with a disability, neurodivergence or have complex mental health issues, as well as those who come from other cultures or countries for whom English is not a first language.

5. Notification system to alert services of homelessness status

Families are in danger of falling through gaps of support systems. There is currently no united method of a notification system or policy which enables primary health and education providers to be alerted to homelessness status. As such, existing services are unable to respond appropriately.

Our policy ask: A notification system which ensures that, at the point a household registers as homeless, relevant existing services are informed. This places the onus on systems to share information, rather than homeless adults, families or children.

6. Transport access for all people living in temporary accommodation

When people experiencing homelessness are placed in TA they might be placed far away from communities, education or work. The additional cost of bus passes can negatively impact a household's finances or lead to isolation and a lack of engagement with services.

Our policy ask:A seamless system that allows people experiencing homelessness access to free local transport whilst in TA, from when they are owed a duty to refer.

7. Mapping the out of area placements system

We know from this call for evidence, as well as the co-secretariats' wider work and available homelessness stats, that out of area placements are a substantial issue impacting almost a third of households in TA as well as Local Authorities across the country. We know that the use of out of area is set to increase, and that it is a key indicator of a system that is not coping. As such, the action at this point is to gather information, rather than a policy ask.

We invite relevant bodies to explore opportunities to collaborate through the APPG so that together we can improve the lives of the 95,060 households currently stuck in TA. Please get in touch with us to find out more, and download and share the report.