Leading London homelessness charity, Evolve Housing + Support is calling on local councils to include the Covid-19 pandemic as a reason for people’s homelessness when applying for housing.
The call follows the government’s newly released figures on homelessness in England (January 2021) for the period July to September 2020, which revealed almost 70,000 households approached their local council and were found to be homeless or at risk of homelessness. The same data also discovered councils were only able to help one in five (20%) households at risk of homelessness to stay in their existing home. The three most common reasons were families and friends (33%), the loss of a private tenancy (13%) and domestic abuse (12%). The option to select the pandemic doesn’t currently exist, despite it likely being the cause for the increase we see above.
Although there are notable differences between each council’s homelessness referral forms, Evolve is calling for the inclusion of a standardised Covid-19 pandemic option. This would provide local government and supported housing organisations with stronger data on the effects of the pandemic and how it has affected the living status of thousands of people. It would also give support workers vital information that they could use to create better informed support plans that specifically address a person’s individual needs.
Evolve Chief Executive Jeremy Gray said, “It is vitally important that we are utilising every point of data so we can better understand the impacts of this pandemic. Our key workers go to work every day to support people struggling with homelessness, creating support plans, providing counselling and researching work and learning opportunities.
“Including this small amend on all London council homelessness forms could enable thousands of people to receive the tailored support they need to become independent again. It could also allow us to clearly understand the impacts of the pandemic.”
Evolve Housing + Support has written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, as well as all council leaders across London encouraging them to take up this action. The charity is also calling on other supported housing organisations and homelessness charities across England to support this call.