This report examines statutory homelessness and temporary accommodation (TA) in London and Greater Manchester. It is a public-policy facing report to shed light on what is currently happening with the supply and demand of TA and to open up a wider discussion around what can be done to improve the situation going forward. It is not intended as an academic or technical comparative analysis of the different boroughs homelessness activities.
The findings and evaluations are based on extensive desk research and one to one interviews with housing officers and other housing professionals, housing providers, investors, politicians, experts, homelessness charities and campaigners. We also hosted two virtual roundtable discussions in the Spring of 2022: on Greater Manchester, chaired by Paul Dennett, Salford City Mayor and Deputy Mayor for Greater Manchester; and on London, chaired by Tom Copley, London Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development.
Where relevant we have highlighted what specific boroughs are doing and have included examples of best practice and new ideas and approaches. We have laced the report with anonymised quotes from the interviews and made reference to the work of the GLA, London Councils, GMCA and other relevant organisations. We have evaluated the data and opinions and on the basis of what we’ve found offered a series of talking points and policy recommendations.
The concept of a TA system as used in this report combines the boroughs’ statutory duties under the Homelessness Reduction Act (2017) with their responsibilities under relevant housing legislation and regulations. We have also referred to the rules and regulations surrounding welfare benefits and housing policy more generally that impacts on TA, as well as looking at local, city-wide and national plans and strategies. Although not quite a whole-system approach, the report does cover a range of inter-connected demand and supply side issues, including the different challenges the boroughs face preventing homelessness, managing and providing the different types of TA and finding settled, move-on homes.
We have concentrated primarily on the actions of local authority housing teams and tried to capture the salient, most pressing issues, mindful that there are important differences between them. We have also made reference to the causes of homelessness and the different cohorts of homeless households, as well as to some of the concerns facing homeless households.
We appreciate that this wide canvas risks conflating some of the complex problems around tackling and preventing homelessness with specific concerns around managing and providing TA and move-on housing. We also recognise that the root causes of homelessness – and many of the lasting solutions – lie outside the TA system and demand multiple (and joined-up) policy interventions covering a range of public policy, not least housing and planning, welfare, and local/regional government.
The report covers the GLA and the 32 Greater London boroughs and the GMCA and its boroughs (Bolton, Bury, City of Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan). The data was drawn mainly from DLUHC, GLA, GMCA and other official statistics, as well as information collated by the boroughs, housing charities and professional bodies.
The Smith Institute would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the research. We are particularly grateful to the co-author Maura Farrelly, who conducted most of the in-depth interviews, to all the interviewees who participated, to all those who attended the two roundtables and to those who gave their time to peer review the report. The Institute would especially like to thank the Wates Family Enterprise Trust for supporting the project.
The report covers the responsibilities of the boroughs regarding statutory unintentionally homeless households, specifically regarding homeless prevention, the provision of TA and the discharging of housing duties when an applicant accepts a tenancy from a private or social landlord. It does not cover other homeless categories beyond the borough’s statutory duties, such as the ‘hidden homeless’ who are not included in official statistics.1 Other homeless households not covered by the report are those in ‘unsupported’ TA,2 in supported ‘exempt’ TA,3 or those who have ‘no recourse to public funds’ (such as non-UK nationals and people subjected to immigration control).