The number of homeless households in temporary accommodation across England climbed nearly 10% at the start of 2020 to reach a 14-year high, new figures show.
Official figures released on by the MHCLG (Ministry for Housing, Communities, and Local Government) show councils had assessed 75,140 households as either being homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days over the three-month period from January to March – just as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.
The jump represents a 9.7% increase from the figure for the previous quarter, at the end of 2019, and the highest level since the assessment system was introduced in April 2018.
On 31 March, there were 93,000 households in temporary accommodation in England – representing a 9.4% rise from the same date in 2019.
The increase was mainly driven by single households, with a 28.5% rise over the 12-month period among this group.
A government release accompanying the statistics said the figures “may be linked to the COVID-19 ‘Everyone in’ scheme”, which saw rough sleepers or those at risk of rough sleeping placed in emergency accommodation from late March.
Of the 75,140 households assessed as being owed a homelessness duty by councils between January and March, 2,320 were rough sleeping.
This represents a slight increase from the 2,210 recorded at the end of 2019.
Another 19,160 had been living in the private rented sector, up 15.7% from the 16,560 recorded over the previous three months.
There was also a reported rise of 12% to 18,080 among those living with family.
Evictions ban extension
The temporary accommodation figures were released just prior to the announced of a four-week extension to the evictions ban.
The ban was initially implemented in March as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, and was due to be lifted on 23 August.
However, following widespread fears about a potential surge in homelessnes, the ban was officially extended last week till 20 September.
More temporary accommodation stats
The new MHCLG figures also show that, of the 73,960 households whose homelessness duty owed by councils came to an end between January and March, 48.9% were secured somewhere to live for at least six months.
Use of B&B temporary accommodation for families with children fell 18.4% to 1,550 households over the three months.
For all types of households there was an overall rise of 11.6% to 8,180 in the use of B&B temporary accommodation.