Homelessness and Overcrowding

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 significantly reformed England’s homelessness legislation by placing duties on local authorities to intervene at earlier stages to prevent homelessness in their areas. It also requires housing authorities to provide homelessness services to all those affected, not just those who have ‘priority need’. These include:

(a) an enhanced prevention duty extending the period a household is threatened with homelessness from 28 days to 56 days, meaning that housing authorities are required to work with people to prevent homelessness at an earlier stage; and

(b) a new duty for those who are already homeless so that housing authorities will support households for 56 days to relieve their homelessness by helping them to secure accommodation.

The number of people owed a prevention duty each quarter has tended to be similar to the numbers across the region and England as a whole. The number of people of owed a relief duty, however, tends to be lower than the regional and national averages. The number of households in temporary accommodation has tended to be above the regional average. The numbers of households in temporary accomodation across England as a whole is skewed by very high numbers in some London boroughs.

Source: DLUHC (LG Inform API)

Source: DLUHC (LG Inform API)

Source: DLUHC (LG Inform API)

Many households owed a duty have one or more particular support needs. Poor mental and physical health are common needs, and many of the households have a household member with an offending history. Domestic abuse is another common support need and reason for becoming homeless.

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Support needs of households owed a prevention or relief duty, . Source: DLUHC (LG Inform API)


At the 2011 Census, around 2.7% of households were overcrowded – not having enough bedrooms for the type of family living in the household. This proportion was lower than the England average. Overcrowding was more common in rented households than owned households – 4.9% of private rented households were overcrowded and 4.2% of social rented households. Of the overcrowded private rented households, around 70% of the households had dependent children. Overcrowding also varied by ethnicity, with 14.9% of Asian households being overcrowded and 12.7% of White Other households.

Concealed Families and adult Children Living with their Parents

Some overcrowding may be due to extended families living together – a preferred choice of living arrangement for some people. The 2011 Census recorded 475 young families with children (family head aged under 35) living within another household – most likely with parents. A further 270 couples without children were living in a similar situation. The proportion of families and couples in this situation is lower than the proportion across England as a whole. In addition to couples living with parents, around 14,400 of single people aged 18-24 (53% of age group) are living with their parent(s), and around 5,600 of single people aged 25-34 (14% of age group).

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