St Mungo’s responds to latest statistics on why people become homeless and how they escape it
New data reveals almost 1 in 10 adults had experienced some form of housing difficulty during their life
St Mungo’s is highlighting the importance of safe, secure housing, with new figures released today (22 October) showing that that 1 in 10 adults in the UK living in private accommodation in 2018 had experienced some form of housing difficulty during their life.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) used data from an EU survey for its new report Past experiences of housing difficulties in the UK: 2018. Researchers found:
- In the UK, in 2018, almost 1 in 10 adults living in a private household (9%) had experienced some form of housing difficulty at some point in their life; the most common form was staying with friends or relatives temporarily, accounting for 62% of the experiences.
- The main reason provided for experiencing housing difficulties was a breakdown of relationships, family problems or both, with this being reported in almost half (48%) of all cases of housing difficulties; after taking into account age, sex, region, country of birth and level of educational attainment, those who had experienced housing difficulties in the past were also significantly more likely to be currently separated or divorced than those who had not.
- The most common method of exit from housing difficulties was moving into social or subsidised private housing (39%); a further 14% reported that they exited housing difficulties as a result of new or renewed relationships or reconciliation with family or a partner, and 12% reported gaining employment as the main reason for exiting housing difficulties.
- Most of the instances of housing difficulties lasted for a period of six months or less (59%), however almost one-quarter (24%) lasted longer than a year.
- After taking into account age, sex, region, country of birth and level of educational attainment, those who have had past experience of housing difficulties were more likely than those who have not to report low life satisfaction, to be happy only a little or none of the time, to feel lonely, and to have low levels of trust in others.
- People who have experienced housing difficulties in the past were more likely than those who have not to currently be renting, living in a property with leaks or damp, and living in an area with crime, violence or vandalism, accounting for age, sex, region, country of birth and level of educational attainment; they were also more likely to currently be deprived and unable to meet an unexpected expense of £800.
Steve Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said: “These figures show that even before the Covid-19 pandemic arrived, many people in the UK were struggling to find and sustain safe and secure housing. From our own recent research with those in transient work, we recognise the stress caused by precarious housing situations and that people experiencing difficulties can be reluctant to disclose their situation for fear of discrimination or stigmatisation.
“The pandemic response has shown what can be achieved when national and local Government, homelessness and other organisations work together. The Next Steps Accommodation Programme and the Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme, launched by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the GLA respectively, and which will provide four-year capital and revenue funding for homelessness projects, also demonstrates that there is recognition of the need for ongoing support for those at the sharp end of homelessness.
“We believe long terms solutions are possible and it is important to now move forward with the homelessness strategy that was promised by the government, to enable it to deliver its commitment to end rough sleeping within this Parliament.”