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News in Brief 131: Mar – Apr 2021

March 01 2021

Our round-up of what‘s been happening...

Reality bites

A startling report by the National Audit Office (NAO), released at the start of the year, reveals just how ill-prepared government officials were for the task of housing the UK’s homeless during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic last year. The government has set itself the ambitious aim of ending homelessness by 2024, but woefully underestimated just how many people needed housing as it launched its Everyone In scheme last year. The NAO says 33,139 people took part in the scheme between its roll-out in late March and November 2020, but officials working on the project were reliant on a survey stating only 4,266 people slept rough.

Census 2021

STOP PRESS: The 2021 census will take place in England and Wales on 21 March, the Office for National Statistics confirms. The census is for everyone in England and Wales, including homeless people and people sleeping rough. This year the census will be conducted primarily online. • Find our more at

Pandemic legacy

Dismal reading in the Observer, with news that more than 70,000 households have been made homeless in the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic. Figures compiled in late January also reveal a staggering 207,543 households approached their local council for assistance avoiding homelessness or helping with the threat of homelessness between April and November 2020. Of these households, 70,309 were “owed the relief duty”, meaning they were already homeless when they approached their council. David Renard, housing spokesperson for the Local Government Association, warned: “Councils will need further support in the difficult weeks and months ahead to move people into safe and secure housing”.

Is that all? 

Not to worry, all of your troubles can be remedied! All you’ll need is the modest sum of £5,000, an amount easily saved, says the Conservative Mayoral candidate for London, Shaun Bailey. Yes, Bailey proposes homeless people in the capital should simply save up £5,000 for a deposit on a share of an affordable home. When asked by Inside Housing if he was suggesting families in temporary and emergency accommodation could afford the deposit, Bailey clarified, “Not all of them, but some people could. A full proportion of people could.”

  • London Mayoral Elections & Scottish Parliament Elections on 6 May

Meals on wheels

The Museum of Homelessness set up a mobile homeless task force in central London for the winter, providing weekly support for people sleeping rough – by way of hot drinks, snacks and warm kit. The goods are handed out by a team of volunteers every Monday from 8.45pm in the West End until the trolley storing everything is empty.

Parkhead proposal

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde submitted plans for a new health and social centre in Parkhead to the council in January. Glasgow Live reports the centre will provide a range of primary and social care services to the local area’s homeless population, providing support for mental health, addiction, criminal justice and sexual health. The application for the centre states “critical to this concept is the creation of an open, welcoming and caring facility that is easy to navigate and pleasant, calm and uplifting to inhabit.”