In November 2018 the LGA conducted a survey of councils to gather information on their experience of the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) since its implementation. The purpose was to enable the LGA to understand how well the Act is working on the ground, the areas where councils might be experiencing issues in relation to its implementation, and the extent of any funding gaps.
The survey was conducted online in November 2018 via a link sent to heads of housing services in all single tier and district councils in England. This was followed up with a reminder in December. Responses were received from 151 councils, giving a response rate of 48 per cent.
Homelessness presentations are increasing
Almost all (83 per cent) of the councils which responded to the survey have seen an increase in homelessness presentations since the homelessness reduction act came into force. For 30 per cent of respondents, this increase was significant.
Over three quarters (78 per cent) of the councils where presentations have increased feel this is directly attributable to the introduction of the Act.
The Act has seen an increase in the number of presentations from people who weren’t previously covered by statutory provisions – that is, current or recent rough sleepers, and people without local connections. However, presentations from people in priority need have also increased.
The use of temporary accommodation is increasing
For most councils, the number of people in both temporary and emergency accommodation has increased as a result of the Act: 61 per cent of respondents have seen increases in the number of people in temporary accommodation, including 21 per cent for whom these increases were significant. Only eight per cent and six per cent of respondents say numbers in temporary and emergency accommodation respectively have decreased.
Similarly, the length of time spent by people in temporary and emergency accommodation has also increased for the majority of councils: 60 per cent of councils are seeing longer stays in temporary accommodation, and 68 per cent in emergency.
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