Homelessness: Facts, Figures and Suella Braverman
The cost of living crisis and the housing crisis in the UK mean more people are facing homelessness. It’s an issue that should remain at the forefront of our minds as a society, not just when World Homeless Day comes around on 10 October every year.
Despite living in the world’s sixth biggest economy, people are still living with no place to call their home in this country, whether it be sleeping rough, sofa surfing or any other type of homelessness. This injustice must end.
But before you can tackle a problem, you must first learn the scale of the issue. That’s why it is vital that we know the facts and figures about homelessness.
How many people are homeless?
- New government data estimates 2,893 people were sleeping rough on a single night in England in June 2023. That most recent count down on the official snapshot which estimated 3,069 people were sleeping rough on a single night in autumn 2022. However, the June 2023 count still represents a rise of 446 people since March 2023 and an increase of 445 people since the same time in 2022.
- The majority of people sleeping rough in England are male, aged over 26 years old and from the UK. Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics found men who are living on the street outnumber women at a ratio of six to one.
- The London-only Combined Homelessness and Information Network (Chain) figures are considered to be more accurate than the official one-night count. The most recent annual count showed 10,053 rough sleepers spotted on London’s streets between April 2022 and March 2023. A total of 4,068 people were counted between July and September 2023 for the most recent quarterly update with half of those new to the streets.
- In Wales, the official rough sleeping count was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, official monthly management statistics have taken its place. The most recent count showed an estimated 167 people were sleeping rough across the country as of August 2023.
- Scotland doesn’t use the same method as England and Wales. The most recent statistics showed that 2,438 households who applied for council homelessness support between April 2022 and March 2023 reported sleeping rough during the previous three months. Meanwhile, 1,500 households reported being street homeless the night before they applied
- Women are often missing from rough sleeping counts because they tend to be less visible than male rough sleepers due to the risk of violence on the streets. That means women are more likely to seek shelter in cafes, transport hubs or other places rather than bedding down outside.
- A coalition of homelessness and women’s organisations in London joined forces to tackle the issue in October 2022. The resulting women’s rough sleeping census found 154 women, including trans and non-binary women, sleeping rough in London in a week.
- That number was higher than previously thought with an extra 71 women found across 13 London boroughs when the data was compared to the latest official rough sleeping count. Organisers believed the number could be even higher and the count has expanded in 2023.
- As for wider homelessness in England, English councils supported 298,430 households to prevent or relieve homelessness between April 2022 and March 2023. That’s 6.8% higher than the previous year and 3% above pre-Covid levels in 2019-20.
- The number of households living in temporary accommodation in England is at an all-time high. As of March 2023, 104,510 households were living in temporary accommodation, including 65,000 households with children.
- For Wales, the latest statutory homelessness figures showed 12,537 households were assessed as homeless or owed a duty by local councils to help them secure accommodation between April 2022 and March 2023. That is a 7% increase in the number of households who needed support in 2021-22. A total of 11,185 individuals were also reported to be in temporary accommodation in Wales as of August 2023.
- Scotland’s latest official statistics revealed that 32,242 households were assessed as homeless between April 2022 and March 2023, comprising of 36,848 adults and 16,263 children. Those figures have now eclipsed the numbers seen before the pandemic. Overall, there are 39,006 households with open applications for support with homelessness – 9% higher than the same period in 2021-22 and the highest number on record.