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A Foot In The Door: Experiences of the Homelessness Reduction Act

This is the interim report of Crisis 3 year research in to the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act. The ‘A Foot in the Door’ report is based on 984 surveys and 89 in-depth interviews across 6 local authority areas with those approaching services for support.  

Key findings:

  • Two years into its implementation, the research has found the change in law has significantly expanded access to homelessness assistance particularly for single people.
  • The research findings suggest that this is one of the most substantial changes observed since the introduction of the HRA and that the change in legislation has had a noticeable impact on widening access to single homeless people.
  • Overwhelmingly people reported a more positive experience when first approaching Housing Options for assistance.
  • Seventy-five per cent of people reported they were treated with respect and were able to communicate confidentially with staff.
  • Despite the majority of participants reporting positive experiences there is still clear examples of people having poor assessments.
  • The intention and ambition of the HRA is being constrained by the housing market, welfare system and funding. 
  • Whilst there has been a broadly positive experience of initial contact and engagement with Housing Options staff, the research has shown significant barriers and issues with the support on offer and people’s housing outcomes.
  • Overall only 39 per cent of respondents agreed when asked whether the local authority had helped them to resolve their housing issue.
  • A further 31 per cent of participants reported that they had either supported themselves or with the help of family or friends, and 30 per cent reported that their issue was still ongoing.
  • Overall 56 per cent of survey respondents reported a more positive housing situation when asked to compare their current position with the night before they presented at Housing Options.
  • The research found the most common form of intervention offered is information on accessing the private rented sector.
  • Lack of affordable housing both social and PRS means that local authorities are increasingly constrained in the realistic outcomes that they can achieve.



Boobis, S., Sutton-Hamilton, C., and Albanese, F. (2020) ‘A foot in the door’ Experiences of the Homelessness Reduction Act. London: Crisis