William Eichler 20 November 2020

Councils worried about long-term impact of pandemic on homelessness

Local authorities have recognised the positive effects of Government policy on homelessness during the pandemic, but are concerned these are only ‘temporary’ measures.

A new report from the homelessness charity Crisis has revealed that over half (53%) of council and voluntary sector services across Britain have reported an increase in homelessness in their area since the beginning of the pandemic.

A further 73% stated that demand of their services had increased since the start of the pandemic.

According to the study, entitled The impact of COVID-19 on people facing homelessness and service provision across Great Britain, during the first few months of the spread of the coronavirus the increase in homelessness was the result of those already experiencing it accessing help for the first time. Nearly 60% of services also reported an increase in people fleeing domestic abuse.

The study also found that towards the pandemic’s second wave there has also been an increase in people who have experienced homelessness for the first time, many of whom have been furloughed or are newly unemployed.

Homelessness among people with No Recourse to Public Funds has also been a continued issue throughout the pandemic.

Crisis found that local authorities welcomed certain Government measures, such as the pause in evictions and the temporary uplift in local housing allowance, but warned that they were concerned ‘about the temporary nature of these changes and the impact these may have on homelessness in the future.’

Local authorities across each nation reported being worried about the newly emerging need for their services as they started to see the impacts of the wider economic context and the cumulating rent arrears in their local areas.

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