Graphs on this page:
- 9,000 households (excluding the intentionally homeless) were officially recognised as newly homeless by their local authorities in 2010. Although higher than the previous year (8,000), it is only around half the peak of 16,000 in 2004, and similar to the number of a decade ago.
- Three-quarters of those officially recognised as homeless are households without dependent children. Most of the rest are lone parents, with very few being couples with children.
- The biggest reason for becoming homeless is loss of accommodation provided by relatives or friends.
- Every local authority has a homelessness problem, but the greatest problems appear to be in Swansea.
- At the end of the first quarter of 2011, there were around 2,600 homeless households in temporary accommodation. This is much lower than the peak in 2006 (3,400 households) but is still more than twice that of a decade ago (1,100 households).
Definitions and data sources
A household is recognised by their local authority as homeless if they both meet the legal definition of homelessness and they apply to their local authority to be classified as such. If they are classified as unintentionally homeless, the local authority’s duty towards this household then depend on whether they deem them to be ‘in priority need’ – in which case they have a duty to provide accommodation – or ‘not in priority need’ – in which case they have no duty to provide accommodation. All households with children are automatically deemed to be ‘in priority need’.
The first graph shows the number of households who are newly recognised as homeless by their local authority in the stated year, with the data split between those with and without dependent children. It includes both those ‘in priority need’ and those ‘not in priority need’ but it excludes those deemed to be intentionally homeless (a relatively small number) as division by family type is not available for this group.
From 2003 onwards, the numbers with children are a direct part of the data. For the years prior to 2002, the numbers with children have been estimated by using the numbers deemed ‘in priority need’ because of children and adding a percentage of those who deemed ‘in priority need’ because of domestic violence, where this percentage is the proportion of domestic violence cases in 2003 where there were children.
The second graph shows, for the latest year, how the proportion of households newly recognised as homeless by their local authority varies by household type.
The third graph shows, for the latest year, how the proportion of households newly recognised as homeless by their local authority and deemed to be ‘in priority need’ varies by reason for becoming homeless (this data is not available for those deemed ‘not in priority need’ nor for those deemed to be ‘intentionally homeless’). The category ‘loss of accommodation with relatives/friends’ comprises those where ‘parents are no longer able/willing to accommodate’ plus those where ‘other relatives/friends are no longer able/willing to accommodate’.
The fourth graph and map show how the proportion of all households who are newly recognised as homeless by their local authority varies by local authority. To improve statistical accuracy, the data is the average for the latest three years.
The fifth graph shows the number of homeless households in temporary accommodation, as measured at the end of the first quarter of each year, with the data being shown separately for those placed in temporary accommodation by their local authority and those who are ‘homeless at home’. The types of temporary accommodation in the first category include bed-and-breakfast, local authority housing, private sector accommodation and hostels.
The data source for all the graphs and map is the quarterly homelessness statistics published by the Weslh Assembly Government.
Overall adequacy of the indicator: medium. While there is no reason to believe there is any problem with the underlying data, the extent to which it leaves ‘homelessness’ dependent on administrative judgement is not satisfactory. In particular, the figures do not include many single people who are effectively homeless, as local authorities have no general duty to house such people and therefore many do not apply.