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Research & Policy

Lifting the lid on hidden homelessness

First published on April 2018

This report uncovers the true scale of hidden homelessness within unsupported temporary accommodation and explores its role within the homelessness system in England.

UTA is private, short-stay accommodation in which households do not have permanent residency status and limited access to local authority support to find settled accommodation. It includes Bed & Breakfasts (B&Bs), short-stay HMOs, private hostels, emergency accommodation and guesthouses.

UTA is typically ignored in legislation, policy and initiatives aimed at reducing or ending homelessness, in spite of the role it plays in the homelessness ‘system’. Those in UTA are not always considered homeless even though residents will not have access to safe, secure and settled housing, often fit the legal definition for homelessness, and are missed completely from official statistics.

As a result, many homeless households who end up in UTA do not go to local authority homelessness teams for support because they are not owed a statutory duty and cycle between rough sleeping and UTA, experiencing great hardship which largely goes unnoticed.

Our ambition is that the findings of this report will provide an impetus for the inclusion of unsupported temporary accommodation in wider policy, legislation and practice discussions in order to truly make a lasting impact on homelessness in England.