Temporary accommodation types

Temporary accommodation types in London (2002-2021 Q2)

Local authorities, including London boroughs, have legal duties to provide accomodation to people who are homeless. Whilst they are waiting for a permanent solution (such as a home provided by a housing association), local authorities must house them in temporary accommodation such as nightly accommodation, the Private Rented Sector, or Bed and Breakfasts. 

Over the last 20 years, the number of households in temporary accommodation has fluctuated over time. After the peak of 63,000 in 2005, the number of households in temporary accommodation drastically decreased up to 2011, when 36,000 households were in temporary accommodation. However, since 2012 this number has steadily increased and we’re now at levels close to what we’ve seen in 2006. In 2020, nearly 61,000 London households were in temporary accommodation. 

The most prevalent form of temporary accommodation has been in the Private Rented Sector throughout the whole time period (averaging 21,150 in 2020), however, nightly accommodations have grown rapidly since 2012 to a similar level (over 20,000 in 2020).

More than four times as many households were placed in accommodation in another Local Authority district in 2020 (22,100) than in 2010 (5,275 households).

These values represent an average of 4 quarters for each full year (2002-2020), whereas for 2021 the values refer to Q1 and Q2 only. Direct comparisons between the quarterly and yearly figures should be avoided since the impact of seasonality will result in biased estimates.

It is difficult to estimate the effect of public health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic on temporary accommodation figures. Local authorities have received additional funding in order to be able to house people sleeping rough and were given powers to accommodate those who might not normally be entitled to help due to their immigration status. In addition, the eligibility for priority need has been expanded during the pandemic to include people with underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable to adverse effects from a COVID-19 infection.