Homelessness & Rough Sleeping Strategy 2024 - 2029
2. The Homelessness Review
2.1 In line with statutory requirements, this Strategy is based upon a review into homelessness and rough sleeping in Bedford Borough. The Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Review and its Update are at Appendix 1 and 2.
2.2 Figures 1 – 3 below highlight key data from the Review which drives this Strategy:
The total number of approaches to the Council for housing assistance has risen by 68% since 2019.
In 2022, 25% of cases presenting were homeless or at risk of homelessness are as a result of family or friends no longer being willing or able to accommodate.
In 2022, 27% of cases were homeless or at risk of homelessness as a result of the ending of a private sector rented tenancy.
In the last quarter of 2022/23, the proportion of cases that were owed the relief duty is 60%. This is higher than the regional and national averages.
We need to focus on early intervention and prevention where it is most needed to reduce the flow of cases and prevent as many people from becoming 'homeless' in the first place.
In 2022, 13% of cases were homeless or at risk of homelessness as a result of domestic abuse.
In the year 2020/21, 116 victims of domestic abuse were referred into Housing.
During 2022, 57% of cases related to single people.
In 2022, 8% of cases were homeless or at risk of homelessness as a result of eviction from supported housing.
From April 2020 to June 2023, over 600 different individuals have been verified rough sleeping and supported by Rough Sleeper Initiatves Services.
Figure 1: Drivers & Influences for homelessness prevention actions in the Strategy
During 2022/23, there were 506 lettings of social housing through the council's housing register of which 113 were lets to people that were homeless or at risk of homelessness. This is a decrease compared to 2019/20 when 666 lettings were made of which 148 were to homeless applicants.
In July 2023, 28% of people living in temporary accommodation were in hotels. Four families with children resided in hotels for more than six weeks. 60% were living in costly, nightly let accommodation.
At the end of the financial year 2022/23, 660 households were living in interim or temporary accommodation, waiting for suitable housing solutions to end their homelessness. 10% of these households were in accommodation outside of Bedford Borough.
The use of temporary accommodation has increased by 335% since April 2018, with a 63% increase in the past year.
The number of new Private Sector Lettings through the Council's Rent Deposit Scheme has decreased by 31% from 2018 to 2022.
We need to increase the supply of suitable accommodation making sure temporary arrangments are brief, with long-term solutions delivered to meet demand now and in the future.
Between April 2020 and March 2022, Registered Providers completed almost 800 new affordable homes. We need to build on this success to deliver more.
From April 2020 to June 2023, 612 verified rough sleepers have stayed in the Council's Emergency Shelter Hotel
From August 2021 to June 2023, 33 rough sleepers with complex support needs have been accommodated in specialist supported temporary accommodation. There is some unmet need and other people who are likely to require this kind of specialist facility.
There have been no low-cost home ownership outcomes for people that were homeless or at risk of homelessness.
From 2020 to June 2023, 296 lettings of supported accommodation were made to people that were homeless. 205 of these lettings were made to people being supported through our rough sleeper initiatives pathways and only 91 to people residing in temporary accommodation.
Figure 2: Drivers & Influences for supply of accommodation actions in the Strategy
From 2020 to 2022, the percentage of people evicted from supported housing schemes has trebled (from 3% to 9%).
The Domestic Abuse Strategy 2021-2026 sets out a number of objectives linked directly with Housing.
In June 2023, 20% of people in temporary accommodation had a diagnosed mental illness.
In June 2023, 11% of people residing in temporary accommodation had a physical health need.
We need to review how bespoke specialist support can be delivered to ensure everyone has the opportunity to recover from and not return to homelessness.
In June 2023, 8% of people residing in temporary accommodation were victims of domestic abuse.
In January 2022, we estimated that 14% of people in temporary accommodation had multiple complex needs (including Crime & Anti-Social Behaviour, Drug & Alcohol Addictions and Poor Mental Wellbeing. Given that single people are more likely to have complex needs and the rise in single people in TA, we anticipate that this percentage will increase.
Between April 2020 and June 2023, 33 individuals have accessed eight charity and grant-funded supported accommodation units for people who are not eligible for housing assistance.
The snapshot of known rough sleepers (not eligible for housing assistance) at the end of September 2023, was 7. This number is expected to rise when this funding ends in January 2024 and some people may have to leave before a successful pathway solution can be achieved.
In June 2023, 63% of households in temporary accommdoation were single people or couples with no dependent children and 37% were families with children. This compares to the national and regional levels of 40% and 60% respectively.
Figure 3: Drivers & Influences for prevention and recovery support actions in the Strategy