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The Homelessness Monitor: England 2015

The Homelessness Monitor: England 2015 is the fourth annual report of an independent study, funded by Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, of the homelessness impacts of recent economic and policy developments in England.

Key findings

  • Officially estimated rough sleeper numbers have continued to grow, with the 2013 national total up 37% on its 2010 level. In the last two years, however, the annual rate of increase has been more modest at around 5%, though continued growth in the more ‘entrenched’ rough sleeping cohorts in London is a matter of particular concern.
  • At 52,000, annual statutory ‘homelessness acceptances’ were 12,000 higher across England in 2013/14 than in 2009/10, though they did fall back 2% in the most recent year.
  • However, these headline homelessness acceptance statistics are of declining utility in tracking national trends, as increasingly they reflect changes in local authority management of homelessness that is tending to encourage applicants to choose informal ‘housing options’ assistance instead of making a statutory homelessness application.
  • Including such informal ‘homelessness prevention’ and ‘homelessness relief’ activity, as well as statutory homelessness acceptances, there were some 280,000 ‘local authority homelessness case actions’ in 2013/14, 9% up on the previous year (and 36% higher than in 2009/10). Prevention activity alone constituted some 228,000 cases in 2013/14 - 12% higher than the previous year and 38% up on 2009/10.
  • Almost three quarters of the increase in homelessness acceptances over the past four years was attributable to the sharply rising numbers made homeless from the private rented sector. In London this pattern was even more manifest, with the annual number of London acceptances resulting from private tenancy terminations rising from 925 to 5,960 in the four years to 2013/14.
  • Temporary accommodation placements rose 6% during 2013/14, and are up 24% since their low point in 2010/11. ‘Out of district’ placements have increased by 26% over the past year, and now account for 24% of the national total (up from only 11% in 2010/11). Such placements mainly involve London boroughs.
  • The scale of hidden homelessness is evident in the 2013 estimate of 2.23 million households containing concealed single persons in England, in addition to 265,000 concealed couples and lone parents. On the most recent (2012) figures 685,000 households (3.1%) were overcrowded in England, maintaining the higher levels seen over several years. Both concealed and overcrowded households can often be stuck in that position for considerable periods of time.


Fitzpatrick, S., Pawson, H., Bramley, G., Wilcox, S. & Watts, B. (2015) The Homelessness Monitor: England 2015, London: Crisis.