Homelessness and equality

A template motion on homelessness and equality

This Council notes:

  • That levels of homelessness are extremely different among different groups, many of which overlap.
  • That the causes of homelessness differ extensively between those groups, and the prevention of homelessness or repeat homelessness requires programmes which respond appropriately to those different causes.
  • That there is a vicious cycle of homelessness. Children who experience homelessness growing up more likely to get a poorer education, more likely to end up in precarious employment, and more likely to suffer from poor mental health, and associated conditions which in turn increase the likelihood of them becoming homeless as adults; a cycle which is likely to continue throughout their lives. 
  • That as well as the visible causes and impacts of homelessness on these groups, there is a substantial number of people, particularly women, who are not identified as being homeless, but are living in at risk situations.

In particular, Council notes that:

  • 85 per cent of homeless people are men.
  • Domestic violence leads to homelessness, with 32 per cent of homeless women saying that domestic violence contributed to their homelessness. Additionally, 8 per cent of homeless men site domestic abuse as a factor.
  • Up to 25 per cent of looked after children and care leavers find themselves homeless once they are no longer covered by child services, with 14 per cent sleeping rough.
  • One in six (16 per cent) of LGBTQ+ homeless young people who were prepared to answer, were forced to do sexual acts against their will by family members before they became homeless. 
  • Homelessness disproportionately impacts black people – in 2019/20, the proportion of black people owed help by their Council was 10.9 per cent, while they made up just 3.6 per cent of the general population. 
  • Crisis has identified that 58 per centof females sleeping rough nationally have been intimated or threatened and that, over the course of a year, one in four were sexually assaulted. 
  • Over half (59 per cent) of LGBTQ+ young people have faced some form of discrimination or harassment while accessing homeless services.
  • The report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, which stated that “homelessness disproportionately affects persons with disabilities. In a vicious circle, disability often leads to homelessness and homelessness, in turn, creates or exacerbates impairments and additional barriers”.

Therefore, the Council resolves to:

  • Ensure that when developing its homeless strategy, both within the borough and with partners
    that the differing causes and impacts of homelessness among different groups are central to approaches taken, and not just part of an equality impact assessment, and
    that hidden and marginalised groups that are subject to precarious housing situations, which may not be part of the traditional homelessness analysis, and ensure that the strategy also addresses their needs.
  • Write to the [MP/s] who represent the [council area], and ask them to support the recent repeal of the Vagrancy Act, which criminalises homelessness, and to support moves to instead provide funding for more programmes to ensure homeless people are supported in getting back in to stable housing situations, permanently. 
  • Write to the Department of Work and Pensions, requesting them to scrap the four week wait for Universal Credit, which exacerbates many people’s crisis situations when a change in employment circumstances also results in them losing their home.
  • Recognise the importance of providing social housing, rather than “affordable housing”, in providing essential opportunities for residents to live in their own home, and to look for funding and opportunities to support greater provision of social housing throughout  [our council area].
  • Design and implement both qualitative and quantitative data collection about the housing circumstances of persons with disabilities, and use that to inform the Council’s policy approach to homelessness, and to ensure that new housing, in particular social housing, is also accessible housing.