Over 135,000 households in England homeless with support needs – Crisis responds

New UK government statistics released today (9th September) show that during much of the pandemic, over 135,000 of the households in England who experienced or were at risk of homelessness also had other support needs.  

The statistics show that from April 2020 – March 2021:

Overall, 268,560 households experienced or were at risk of homelessness. This represents a 7% decrease on the year before mainly due to the protections put in place during the pandemic. 

Half of households experiencing or at risk of homelessness had one or more support need. This includes victims of domestic abuse, young people leaving their family or care, people with learning disabilities, and people with experiences of mental health problems – which was the most common support need (66,470 people overall). These experiences put greater pressure on people and can make ending people’s homelessness even harder to resolve without the right support.

Compared to the previous year, 17% more (86,810 households) were pushed into homelessness because family or friends could no longer accommodate them – the single highest cause of homelessness in this time – and 17% more because of domestic abuse (31,190 households). 

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “These statistics make painfully clear that you cannot free people from the cycle of homelessness without a proper home and crucially, the support they need to keep it long term. 

“Half of the households forced into or put at risk of homelessness in the last year had one or more support need, which are harder to resolve without a stable home. For many people with multiple issues relating to mental health, trauma or addiction, short-term accommodation cannot prevent them being forced back into rough sleeping. 

“We urgently need a national Housing First scheme that delivers them long term housing, alongside tailored, unconditional support to rebuild their lives and leave homelessness behind for good. 

“The numbers are not huge: Crisis research shows that 9,000 people who were given emergency accommodation through the Everyone In scheme need this support, out of a total of 37,000. But the difference it would make to each of their lives would be immeasurable.” 


Notes to Editor

  • Analysis by Crisis estimates that 9,400 people who were helped through Everyone In have support needs that would be best supported through Housing First. Using six secondary data sources – CHAIN, Crisis’ survey data, Hard Edges, MHCLG survey data, and Multiple Exclusion Homelessness - which have recorded the support needs of people rough sleeping, sofa surfing and living in temporary accommodation Crisis has analysed the proportions of people experiencing mental and physical health needs, drug and/or alcohol needs, exiting the criminal justice system and care system. Based on existing evidence we assume a mid-estimate of 9,400 out of the 37,000 people supported through Everyone In have a combination of these support needs.
  • The research comes as Crisis relaunches its Home for All campaign, which shows that if the UK government does not commit to funding a national Housing First scheme in the autumn spending review, it is at serious risk of undermining the progress it has made towards achieving its commitment to ending rough sleeping by 2024.

  • Housing First works on the principle that someone is provided with a stable ordinary home first and then tailored unconditional support, for issues such as trauma, mental health and addiction, is provided alongside this for as long as it is needed. 

  • By rolling the scheme out nationally, Crisis analysis shows that for every £1 invested in Housing First, £1.24 of savings will be made to the public purse due to the reduction in the use of homelessness and other related services such as health and criminal justice.