Homelessness: what do the official stats show?

Homelessness is a big concern.

Not having a secure home, sleeping on a friend's floor, or having to live on the street can seriously affect a person's health, wellbeing, job prospects and feelings of safety and security.

How do we know what's going on?

District councils keep a track of the number of people coming to them who may be homeless or threatened with homelessness. In some cases the council can help avert a crisis, but sometimes this is not possible, and a person has to go through an assessment process. Some may need to stay in temporary accommodation. In the worst extremes people can end up sleeping rough, or families with children end up staying in bed and breakfast accommodation - perhaps while their application is being considered, perhaps because they have to wait for a suitable home to come available.

How does Open Data help?

To help keep a watch on the various trends, which are carefully monitored by every local authority across England, we have compiled a new list of data in "open" format. This aims to help make more and better use of information already being gathered and checked in the districts, then collated by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG). These processes take time and effort, so why not make the data as useable as possible by analysts, local communities, in fact anyone who is interested in the issue?

All the data is provided in excel and CSV (comma separated value) format, and each has its own unique API or Applicaiton Process Interface; which basically means the data is easier to find, filter and use.

Want to know more about APIs?

We set out a story showing how APIs can be used, if you are interested, here...http://opendata.cambridgeshireinsight.org.uk/data-story-how-open-data-helped-santa


The data includes

  • annual homelessness returns looking back to 2009-10
  • 3-monthly homelessness data looking back to April 2013
  • action taken to prevent homelessness or provide "relief"
  • estimates and counts of rough sleeping
  • numbers of families with children in bed and breakfast accommodation, monitored every three months by each local authority across England.


Link to the original CLG page of live homelessness tables where the data comes from: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-homelessness

Link to our homelessness page to help find this all as easily as possible, herehttp://opendata.cambridgeshireinsight.org.uk/group/homelessness


You can find some useful local background information by following this link to Cambridge sub-regional housing board's page about housing need and homelessness http://www.cambridgeshireinsight.org.uk/housing/housing-2015/housing-need


If you have suggestions to make or want to find out more, please contact sue.beecroft@cambridge.gov.uk

Photo: Part of the mix of expensive apartments and social housing that make up the CB1 development © Copyright Dr Julian Paren and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence