Statutory homelessness statistics
These statistics are for 'statutory homelessness' only. There has been a divergence in the way each nation gathers and collates statutory homelessness statistics, particularly since devolution in 1999.
- English statutory homelessness statistics
- Welsh statutory homelessness statistics
- Scottish statutory homelessness statistics
UK Government statistics show that, from 2003 to 2009 there was a sharp decline in both the number of households applying to their local authority for homelessness assistance and the number of households being accepted as homeless and in 'priority need'.
However, in 2011/12, 108,720 households in England applied to their local authority for homelessness assistance - a rise of six per cent on the previous year and of 22 per cent on 2009/10.
In addition, 46 per cent (50,290) of households who applied were accepted as homeless and in 'priority need' - a 14 per cent increase on 2010/11 and a 26 per cent rise since 2009/10.
Of those households accepted in 2011/12:
- 63 per cent were accepted because they included dependent children
- 10 per cent because they included a pregnant woman
- 8 per cent because they included someone vulnerable through mental illness
Welsh Government statistics show the number of homelessness applications and acceptances peaked after a peak in 2004/05. That year, more than 22,500 households applied for assistance and almost 9,900 were accepted as being owed the main homelessness duty, as they were homeless and in 'priority need'.
However, in 2011/12, almost 15,000 Welsh households applied to their local authority for homelessness assistance - a five per cent rise on the previous year and a 16 per cent rise on 2009/10.
43 per cent (6,515) were accepted as being homeless and in 'priority need' - a four per cent rise on the previous year and a 17 per cent rise on 2009/10.
Of those households accepted in 2011/12:
- 43 per cent were because they included a dependent child or a pregnant woman
- 15 per cent were former prisoners with no accommodation to return to
- 13 per cent were vulnerable due to domestic violence
- 8 per cent were vulnerable due to mental illness and/or learning disabilities.
Scottish Government statistics show that, in 1996/97, just under 41,000 households in Scotland applied to their local authority for homelessness assistance, with 30,600 accepted as homeless. 17,000 (55 per cent) of those households accepted as homeless were then accepted as being in 'priority need' and so owed the main homelessness duty.
In the years following the number of application rose steadily to 60,700 in 2005/6, with 72 per cent (43,600) accepted as homeless and 75 per cent (32,900) of those deemed to be in 'priority need'.
In 2011/12, there were 45,320 applications, 19 per cent lower than the previous year. 76 per cent of those (34,300) were accepted as homeless, 91 per cent (31,180) of who were accepted as being in priority need.
Of those households accepted as homeless and in 'priority need' in 2011/12:
- 30 per cent included dependent children
- 34 per cent had one or more support need
- 20 per cent had a medical condition
- 13 per cent having mental health problems
- 11 per cent drug or alcohol dependency issues
Ending priority need
The 2003 Homelessness etc. (Scotland) Act, made provisions for the distinction between 'priority' and 'non-priority' need to be effectively abolished at the end of 2012. As part of this process, Scottish local authorities have been gradually relaxing or removing their priority need criteria.
Since then the 2003 Act was passed, the proportion of homeless households accepted as being in priority need by their local authority has risen 18 per cent, going from 73 per cent in 2003/4 to 91 per cent in 2011/12. The aim is that 100 per cent of homeless households will be assessed as priority by 31 December 2012
Another noticeable trend is that, in contrast to England and Wales, the numbers of people applying for homelessness assistance in Scotland has actually declined in the past few years. This was particularly evident in 2011/12, when the number of applications was 45,320, down 19 per cent on 2010/11, when 55,660 households applied.
The Scottish Government suggests this drop is likely to be the result of the adoption of a 'Housing Options' model, as Scottish local authorities focus on prevention.