under the homelessness provisions of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended
by the Homelessness Act 2002) and a small number of residual cases
under the Housing Act 1985. Tables 1 to 6 and Charts A and B relate
Households accommodated (Charts B & C and Tables 5, 6 & 8)
The number of households in accommodation arranged by local
authorities under homelessness legislation at the end of September
2002 was 84,800, some 3,630 (4 per cent) higher than at the end of
the previous quarter and 6,860 (9 per cent) more than recorded at the
end of September 2001.
The total number of households in bed and breakfast or Annexe-style
accommodation with shared facilities at the end of September was
13,300, a rise of 880 households (7 per cent) over June 2002. This
also represents a nominal rise of 1,010 (8 per cent) over the figure
for September 2001, but needs to be considered in the context of more
precise information now being reported by local authorities,
identifying and correcting an element of previous mis-reporting (see
Notes). We estimate that uncorrected figures on the same
basis as those reported last year would have shown 14,460 households
in Bed and Breakfast at the end of September 2002, an increase of
2,170 (18 per cent) over September 2001.
16 per cent of households (17 per cent in London) accommodated at the
end of September 2002 were in bed and breakfast. These proportions
compare with peaks of 47 per cent (England) and 59 per cent (London)
in the quarter ending June 1987.
Figures for families with children in B&B have been collected this
year for the first time. Despite the general rise of total households
in B&B, the number of families with children in such accommodation
has remained unchanged, at 6,700, for the third successive quarter.
Around 70 per cent of these are in London, and just over 20 per cent
in the South East and South West regions combined.
The number of homeless households in hostel accommodation (including
women's refuges) at the end of September was 9,740, an increase of
150 (2 per cent) since the end of the previous quarter, but a fall of
680 (7 per cent) compared with one year ago. Hostel accommodation has
traditionally been regarded as involving the sharing of some or all
amenities; the apparent decline in numbers compared with last year is
largely attributable to authorities re-classifying any self-contained
units more appropriately, as either 'local authorities own stock' or
'private sector accommodation'.
At the end of September 2002 some 14,910 households which had been
accepted as homeless under the Acts were 'homeless at home' (see
Notes) while awaiting the provision of accommodation
(Table 5). This is an increase of 2,140 (17 per cent) over the June
figure, and 3,880 (35 per cent) more than September 2001.
Homeless acceptances (Chart A and Tables 2 & 7)
In the September quarter of 2002, local authorities accepted some
33,640 households as meeting the statutory criteria of being eligible
for assistance, unintentionally homeless and falling within a
priority need group. This is an increase of some 3,080 (10 per cent)
on the previous quarter, and is 2,730 (9 per cent) higher than in the
corresponding quarter last year.
The number of acceptances usually increases between the second and
third quarters. However, at 10 per cent the increase in the third
quarter of 2002 is slightly higher than the increases of between 6 -
8 per cent recorded in the corresponding quarters since 1997.
Significant increases were recorded in Yorkshire & The Humber (35 per
cent), East of England (18 per cent) and North West (14 per cent)
regions. The only region with a fall in acceptances was East
Midlands, at 5 per cent.
In the third quarter 70% of acceptances were from households
classified as White, 10% from African/Caribbean households, 6% from
Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi households, 8% from other ethnic origin
households and the remaining 6% from households where the ethnic
origin was not known. This breakdown is virtually unchanged from the
Key summary data at local authority level on decisions, acceptances
and households accommodated is published in an extended Supplementary
Table which this quarter includes an analysis of acceptances by main
ethnic groups. This builds on the regional ethnicity data previously
published alongside the homelessness statistics for the quarter
ending 30 June 2002. It is intended to incorporate a new table on
ethnicity in the main Statistical Release once a reliable time-series
Acceptances by category of priority need (Table 3)
For over half (54 per cent) of the cases accepted during the
September quarter of 2002, the presence of dependent children in the
household was the primary reason for acceptance, and a further 10 per
cent of households included a pregnant woman. There has been little
change in the percentages of these and other main categories of
priority need over the past three years.
The additional categories of priority need introduced by Order under
the Housing Act 1996 came into effect during this quarter (see Notes).
It is not possible to establish precisely how much of
the recorded increase in accepted cases is attributable to the Order.
In the past some local authorities would have accepted these groups
of applicants (especially vulnerable young people, and people fleeing
domestic violence) and recorded them against the 'vulnerable for a
special reason' category. Increases have occurred across all of the
existing priority need categories, against a background of rising
levels of acceptances in recent years and a usual increase between
the second and third quarters of each year.
Reasons for homelessness (Table 4)
In the September 2002 quarter 35 per cent of acceptances arose
because parents, relatives or friends (mostly parents) were no longer
able, or willing, to accommodate them. This proportion has gradually
risen since 1997, when it represented around 27 per cent of
A further 23 per cent of acceptances in the September 2002 quarter
were because of the breakdown of a relationship with a partner;
two-thirds of the cases of relationship breakdown involved violence.
Both of these figures have varied little in recent years. Over the
last seven years, the number of households losing accommodation
through the ending of an assured shorthold tenancy has increased from
around 10 per cent to around 15 per cent.
At 2 per cent, the proportion of acceptances resulting from mortgage
arrears was much less than its peak level - 12 per cent during 1991 -
and has been at or below 5 per cent since late 1998. Mortgage arrears
cases have accounted for less than 1,000 acceptances in each of the
last nine quarters.
Decisions taken under the homelessness legislation (Table 1)
In the quarter ending September 2002 local authorities made a total
of 71,430 decisions on applications for housing from households
eligible under the homelessness provisions of the Housing Act 1996
(as amended by the Priority Need Order and by the Homelessness Act
2002). This is 5,350 (8 per cent) more than in the second quarter of
2002. As with acceptances it is usual for the number of decisions
taken to increase between the second and third quarters of the same
year. The increase this year (8 per cent) is slightly above those in
the corresponding quarters since 1997, which have typically been 6 or
7 per cent.
1. Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996, which came into force on 20
January 1997, places statutory duties on local housing authorities to
provide assistance to people who are homeless or threatened with
homelessness. Authorities must consider all applications from people
seeking accommodation or assistance in obtaining accommodation. A
main homelessness duty is owed where the authority is satisfied that
the applicant is eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless
and falls within a priority need group.
2. The priority need groups include households with dependent
children or a pregnant woman and people who are vulnerable in some
way e.g. because of mental illness or physical disability. An Order
made under the 1996 Act extended the priority need categories to
include, additionally: applicants aged 16 or 17; applicants aged 18
to 20 who were previously in care; applicants vulnerable as a result
of time spent in care, in custody, or in the armed forces, and
applicants vulnerable as a result of having to flee their home because
of violence or the threat of violence.
3. Where a main duty is owed, the authority must ensure that suitable
accommodation is available for the applicant and his or her household
until a settled home becomes available for them. Where households are
found to be intentionally homeless or not in priority need, the
authority must make an assessment of their housing needs and provide
advice and assistance to help them find accommodation for themselves.
4. Part 7 of the 1996 Act replaced Part 3 of the Housing Act 1985,
which continues to apply in respect of those cases where an
application was made before 20 January 1997 and a duty is still owed.
A proportion of the homelessness cases for which decisions were made
during 1997 are cases to which Part 3 of the Housing Act 1985
applies. The 1996 Act was amended by Order and by the Homelessness
Act 2002. The Order and the main homelessness provisions of the 2002
Act came into effect on 31 July 2002.
Source of statistics
5. The figures in this Statistical Release are based on quarterly
returns completed by local authorities in England and estimates for
non-respondent authorities. The latest quarter's figures are based on
returns from 322 out of 354 local authorities (91 per cent response).
We consistently publish homelessness results 51 working days after
the end of the quarter. During this time all returns undergo thorough
validation and cross-checking, and late returns are pursued to ensure
overall response is as complete and accurate as possible, with a
minimum target of 90 per cent. This process typically takes nine
weeks or more, after which estimates for missing data are calculated.
6. For four London boroughs which were unable to provide figures on
numbers in temporary accommodation we have based our estimates on
information supplied by the Greater London Authority as part of their
monthly monitoring statistics.
Monitoring of Bed and Breakfast accommodation
7. By the end of 2001 the accurate recording of B&B usage in London
had become inflated because of the inclusion by some boroughs of
Annexe-style units which often consist of self-contained units,
similar to more mainstream private lettings. With effect from the
March quarter 2002, the categories of temporary accommodation
recorded on the department's quarterly housing activity return were
extended to allow a more detailed picture of those households in the
least acceptable form of housing i.e. 'B&B hotels', and Annexe-style
units where some basic facilities are shared. Both of these types are
shown as 'Bed and Breakfast hotels' in Table 6. Self-contained
Annexes, which some authorities in the past had erroneously
attributed to B&B, have now been separately identified and included
within the 'Private sector landlord' accommodation category. We
estimate the net effect of this correction at approximately 1,160
households in September, 1,070 households in June, and 1,000 in
8. Additional information on the households' average length of stay
in specific types of shared-facility accommodation, including B&B,
has also been sought on quarterly P1E returns since March. The
initial level and quality of these new data was not sufficiently
reliable, but from improved responses in June and September it has
been possible to produce broad estimates of the numbers of households
with dependent children in B&B accommodation at regional level.
9. This Statistical Release can be accessed, and all text and tables
downloaded electronically here.
10. The next publication date for Statutory Homelessness Statistical
Release: Thursday 13 March 2003.