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19 November, 2020 Open access

Crisis publishes new research that tracks changing needs of people facing homelessness over first six months of coronavirus pandemic

Findings include that, while recorded increase in homelessness during the first wave of the pandemic was largely driven by people already experiencing homelessness becoming more visible, increases in the second wave were more often newly homeless people

Crisis has published new research that tracks the changing needs of people facing homelessness over the first six months of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Based on survey responses from frontline voluntary sector organisations and in-depth interviews with local authorities across Great Britain, Crisis reports that, between March and September 2020, all three nations experienced a continued new flow of people experiencing homelessness, with increases during the first few months of the pandemic being driven by those already experiencing homelessness - people who were sofa surfing and living in dangerous or transient accommodation – who became more visible as their living situations forced them to access help.

However, as the second wave approached, Crisis highlights that there were bigger increases as a result of people who were experiencing homelessness for the first time, including people who have been furloughed and those who have become newly unemployed.

In addition, Crisis highlights that, while there was recognition of the positive effect that government policies have had on levels of homelessness during the pandemic - particularly the pause in evictions and the temporary uplift in local housing allowance - there were concerns about the temporary nature of the changes and the impact they may have on homelessness in the future.

While also acknowledging that the homelessness response to the pandemic has seen 'extraordinary action' taken to get people into safe accommodation, and that this has clearly saved lives, Crisis says that it has identified differences across the three nations in relation to their ability to fund a homelessness response in the immediate future - 

Highlighting that, even prior to the pandemic, billions of pounds was being spent on temporary accommodation, Crisis says that the gaps identified by its research in the current, varied solutions to address homelessness mean that action is needed to 'achieve a shared goal where homelessness is rare, brief and non-recurrent'. To this end, Crisis sets out three principles that, it says, must be in place -

For more information, see The impact of COVID-19 on people facing homelessness and service provision across Great Britain (2020) from crisis.org.uk