Public Accounts Committee

Homeless households inquiry

Inquiry status: Concluded

Report published 20 December 2017. Government response published 1 March 2018.

Report and response published

Scope of the inquiry

In March 2017 there were 77,240 households in temporary accommodation, according to a report from the National Audit Office. These households included 120,540 children. In total, homelessness costs taxpayers for than £1 billion per year – of which £845 million was spent on temporary accommodation.

Across England, the end of private sector tenancies accounts for 74% of the growth in homeless households since 2010.  According to the NAO, the capping of Local Housing Allowance benefits could also have contributed to the rise in homeless households.

Tackling homelessness is the responsibility of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). DCLG has said it will improve data around homelessness but does not yet have a cross-government strategy to prevent and tackle the problem. The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 gave more responsibility for homelessness to local authorities and required them to have a strategy, but DCLG does not monitor these strategies.

The Public Accounts Committee will take evidence from local councils and the local government ombudsman about authorities’ progress with combatting homelessness. The Committee will then hear from DCLG about their work in reducing the number homeless households, as well as asking the Department for Work and Pensions about whether benefit reform is contributing to the problem.


Read all transcripts, written evidence and other material related to the inquiry on homeless households.

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