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This bulletin provides information (England only) on local ...
This bulletin provides information (England only) on local

authorities' activities under the homelessness provisions of the 1996

Housing Act and a small number of residual cases under the 1985 Act.

Decisions taken under the homelessness legislation

In the quarter ending June 2000 local authorities made a total of

61,800 decisions on applications for housing from households eligible

under the homelessness provisions of the 1985 and 1996 Housing Acts.

This is some 1,890 (3 per cent) less than in the first quarter of

2000 (63,690). It is usual for the number of decisions taken to

decrease between the first and second quarter of the same year. The

decrease this year is less than in 1999 when there was a fall of

approximately 5 per cent.

Homeless acceptances

In the June quarter of 2000, local authorities accepted some 27,330

households as meeting the statutory criteria of homeless,

unintentionally homeless and falling within a priority need group,

under the homelessness provisions of the 1985 and 1996 Housing Acts.

This is a decrease of some 370 (1 per cent) on the previous quarter

(27,700), but is 1,490 (6 per cent) higher than the total number in

the corresponding quarter of 1999.

As with decisions taken, it is usual for the number of acceptances

taken to decrease between the first and second quarters. At 1 per

cent, the decrease in the second quarter of 2000 is less than the

corresponding fall in 1999 (4 per cent) and 1998 (7 per cent).

Acceptances were largely unchanged in most regions, except for an 8

per cent increase in South East and decreases of 5 per cent or more

in both North West and London.

Acceptances by category of priority need

Three in five of the households (58 per cent) accepted during the

June quarter of 2000 contained dependent children, and a further 10

per cent included a pregnant woman. There has been little change in

these percentages over the past three years.

Reasons for homelessness

In the June 2000 quarter 30 per cent of acceptances arose because

parents, relatives or friends (mostly parents) were no longer able,

or willing, to accommodate them. This proportion has been typically

around 28 per cent since 1995.

A further 23 per cent of acceptances in the June 2000 quarter were

because of the breakdown of a relationship with a partner, consistent

with the previous year, and compares with around 20 per cent six

years ago. Over the same six year period, the number of households

losing accommodation through the ending of an assured shorthold

tenancy increased from around 10 per cent to 16 per cent. At 4 per

cent the proportion of acceptances resulting from mortgage arrears

was one-third its peak level - 12 per cent during 1991 - and has been

at or below 5 per cent since late 1998.

Households accommodated

The number of households in accommodation arranged by local

authorities under the homelessness provisions of the Housing Act 1985

and the 1996 Act at the end of June 2000 was 66,030, some 2,560

(4 per cent) higher than at the end of the previous quarter.

The total number of households in bed and breakfast accommodation at

the end of June was 8,380. This represents a rise of just 180

households (2 per cent) over the quarter ending March 2000. (13 per

cent households (17 per cent in London) accommodated at the end of

June 2000 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.

The number of homeless households in hostel accommodation (including

women's refuges) at the end of June was 9,530, an increase of 100 (1

per cent) since the end of the previous quarter. At the end of June

2000 some 9,490 households which had been accepted as homeless under

the two Acts were 'homeless at home' while awaiting the provision of




1. Part VII 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 eg because of mental illness or physical disability. Where a

main duty is owed, the authority must either provide sufficient

assistance to enable the household to obtain suitable private

accommodation in the district (which must be available for two

years) or, if this is not available, it must secure suitable

accommodation for the household for at least two years. In either

case, the household is entitled to be placed on the housing

register and given reasonable preference in the allocation of a

long-term social tenancy. Where households are found to be

intentionally homeless or not in a priority need group, the

authority should provide advice and assistance to help them find

their own accommodation.

3. Part VII of the 1996 Act replaced Part III of the Housing Act

1985, which continues to apply in respect of homelessness

applications made before 20 January 1997. A proportion of the

homelessness cases for which decisions were made during 1997 are

cases to which Part III of the Housing Act 1985 applies.

Source of statistics

4. The figures in this Bulletin 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 327 out of 354 local authorities (92% response).

5. Tables have been produced in landscape format this quarter,

with corresponding adjustments to the data presentation, to

improve clarity. As data collected from local authorities on

'households accommodated at the end of the quarter' no longer

distinguishes between 1985 and 1996 Act cases (in view of the now

relatively few residual cases under the earlier Act), the separate

identification of 1996 Act cases previously given in Tables 5 and

6 has been dropped.

Further details from Alex Arulanandam, DETR, Zone 1/E1, Eland House,

Bressenden Place, London SW1E 5DU Telephone: 020 7944 3316.


Statistics for the third quarter: 2000 is scheduled for publication

on Monday 11 December 2000.

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