Following a recent report in The Guardian, the Department of Communities and Local Government has been accused of sharing misleading data regarding homelessness figures in the UK. They allegedly claimed that homelessness was less than half its peak in 2003.
But the UK Statistics Authority questioned the Government’s reports because their figures seemingly only referred to the statutory definition of homelessness – a relatively narrow term covering homeless people local authorities are obliged to assist, and not those given assistance under homelessness prevention and relief schemes.
Oldrids and Downtown, hallway furniture provider, recently made a Freedom of Information request to councils, to gauge how many domestic properties each council was responsible for and how many properties were currently standing empty (responses were sent between December 2016 and January 2017). They have utilised this information to compare with homelessness figures retrieved from homeless.org.uk in 2016 to paint a true picture of housing and homelessness in the UK.
Example insights include:
Councils with people sleeping rough and a significant number of council-owned properties standing empty…
- Derby has 21 people sleeping rough. The council has 106 domestic properties out of 13,132 standing empty. According to the council, of those 106 properties, there are 22 temp held voids and 84 active voids.
- Brighton & Hove has 144 people sleeping rough – but 100 domestic properties standing empty of the 11,548 they own.
- Manchester has 78 people sleeping rough. The council owns 63,265 domestic properties, 286 of which are standing vacant. Of these 286, 162 are vacant for demolition, leaving 124 properties available.
- Reading council has 22 people sleeping rough. The council owns 6,875 domestic properties, 64 of which are standing empty.
Councils with no houses standing empty
- City of London council has 3,150 council-owned domestic properties, none of which are standing empty. There are 50 people sleeping rough in the City of London.
- Salford council has 1,235 council-owned domestic properties, none of which are standing empty. There are 26 people sleeping rough in Salford.
- West Berkshire council has 26 council-owned domestic properties, none of which are standing empty. There are 14 people sleeping rough in West Berkshire.
Councils with no rough sleeping? Look to the North East:
- Redcar & Cleveland council has 0 people sleeping rough. The council also owns 0 properties.
- Northumberland council has 0 people sleeping rough. The council owns 8,476 domestic properties, 143 of which are standing empty.