Homelessness More Than Tripled in Bristol during Lockdowns

Homelessness rates in cities like Bristol have increased significantly over the past year of lockdowns, including the number of families with children needing temporary accommodation, with figures surging after each lockdown. Reasons such as domestic abuse have been cited for causing this surge. BBC News has the story on homelessness in Bristol.

Paul Sylvester described the 330% increase during the past year as “absolutely massive”.

He was speaking during a multi-agency housing group meeting on the impact of Covid on homelessness in the city.

Families with children in temporary accommodation went up by 11%, but the number of rough sleepers fell.

Mr Sylvester, Head of Housing Options at Bristol City Council, said homelessness surged after each lockdown, with the biggest rise after the third, as coronavirus took its toll on families and relationships.

The number of people made homeless because they were told to leave by family or friends doubled during the past 12 months, he said. 

Relationship breakdown and domestic abuse were also factors, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

“The increase in singles has been absolutely massive, up by 330%, compared to before Covid,” he said.

Mr Sylvester said the “Everyone In” campaign in the first lockdown saw nearly 300 people given beds in hotels and youth hostels.

He said emergency funding had helped bring the number of rough sleepers in Bristol to an historic low of 20 in January 2020 but this had since risen to around the “mid 40s”, compared with around 130 in 2019.

Worth reading in full.

A report from the Observer in January suggests that the rise of homelessness is not isolated to Bristol.

More than 70,000 households have been made homeless since the start of the pandemic, with tens of thousands more threatened with homelessness, despite Government pledges to protect tenants and prevent evictions, according to figures compiled by the Observer

But despite the Government banning evictions for most of the last 10 months, the Observer’s figures show that 207,543 households approached their local council for help with homelessness or the threat of homelessness between the start of April and the end of November 2020.

Of these, 50,561 were “owed the prevention duty”, meaning they were judged to be threatened with homelessness, while 70,309 were “owed the relief duty”, meaning they were already homeless, which is defined more broadly than rough sleeping.

Also worth reading in full.

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