More than three quarters of homeless are not in settled accommodation

More than three quarters of homeless people helped at the start of the pandemic under the Everyone In scheme are not in settled accommodation, charity says

  • Thousands of rough sleepers were brought to safety at the start of Covid crisis
  • The Government claimed 37,000 people have been helped from the initiative
  • But council figures suggest just 23% have moved into settled accommodation
  • Twenty-three per cent were not being accommodated in any form, figures show

Less than a quarter of homeless people that were given help at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic have been given settled accommodation, figures suggest.

Thousands of rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness were rapidly brought to safety at the start of the Covid outbreak by the Government’s Everyone In scheme.

The Government claimed 37,000 people have been helped from the initiative, but council figures suggest that just 23 per cent of those helped have moved into settled accommodation, somewhere they could stay for at least six months, as of February.

More than one fifth are still living in emergency accommodation such as hostels and B&Bs, according to council responses to a freedom of information request by the charity Shelter.

Thousands of rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness were rapidly brought to safety at the start of the Covid outbreak by the Government’s Everyone In scheme (stock image)

Meanwhile, 18 per cent of rough sleepers are in supported living while five per cent had reconnected with family and friends, according to the responses from 234 local authorities.

But twenty-three per cent were no longer being accommodated in any form, which may mean they have returned to the streets or are sofa surfing.

The Government claimed the analysis is ‘misleading’, adding that 26,000 people have already moved into longer-term accommodation.

Shelter chief executive Polly Neate said the country opening up after Covid restrictions ‘isn’t an excuse to forget about homeless people’.

She said: ‘We’re gravely concerned that with funding for Everyone In running out, and councils returning to “business as usual”, we will see people forced out on to the streets.

‘It would be a travesty if we allowed rough sleeping to slide back to pre-pandemic levels. The Government needs to get a grip on this situation urgently and look at what comes next.’

Government claimed 37,000 people have been helped, but council figures suggest that just 23 per cent of those helped have moved into settled accommodation as of February (stock iamge)

A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: ‘We do not recognise these incomplete figures and the analysis is misleading, as it does not take into account those who have moved into supported housing or who have been reconnected with family and friends.

‘The ongoing Everyone In programme has been widely recognised as a considerable success and as of January this year, 37,000 people are in safe and secure accommodation as a result of this effort, including 26,000 already moved into longer-term accommodation.

‘We will build on the progress made by providing over £750 million this year to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping as part of the commitment to end rough sleeping during this Parliament.’

The figures come one month after analysis of official figures showed that councils in England are spending five times more on housing homeless people in B&Bs than they were a decade ago.

A rising number of homeless people are being placed into bed and breakfast accommodation due to a shortage of suitable housing, the Local Government Association (LGA) said.

Councils spent £142million housing families and homeless individuals in B&Bs in 2019-20, according to data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). This is up from £26.7million in 2010/11.

Provisional Government figures also show that there were 10,510 households in B&Bs in the last three months of 2020 – more than four times the number a decade ago (2,310).

The LGA said the figures underline the ‘desperate need’ for more social housing. 

It is calling for councils to be given further powers and resources to build 100,000 social homes for rent each year.

Councillor David Renard, LGA housing spokesman, said: ‘Sadly, these figures reflect the scale of the housing challenges that our country faces. Councils will only use bed and breakfasts as a last resort, but the severe lack of suitable housing means they now have no choice.

But twenty-three per cent were no longer being accommodated in any form, which may mean they have returned to the streets or are sofa surfing (stock image)

‘This is hugely disruptive to families with children, and the rising demand for support has come with soaring costs for councils.

‘Throughout the pandemic government has trusted councils to get on with the job of protecting the nation, supporting people and putting infrastructures in place to help with recovery. 

‘We want to continue this momentum and work with government to tackle the shortage of housing and build the homes the country desperately needs.

‘With the right funding and freedoms, councils can help government achieve its ambitions for our national recovery from the pandemic.’ 

‘Giving councils the powers to build council housing on the scale required, would go a significant way towards reducing homelessness and the need to place households in bed and breakfasts.’ 

An MHCLG spokesperson said: ‘As you would expect, the decisive action we have taken to protect vulnerable people and save lives during the pandemic has clearly contributed to these figures.

‘Our Homelessness Reduction Act has already helped nearly 350,000 households into more permanent accommodation and we’re investing £750million over the next year alone to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping and lessen the need for temporary accommodation.

‘We’re investing more than £12 billion in affordable housing over five years, the largest investment in a decade, with half for affordable and social rent.’

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