A report recently published by the homelessness charity Crisis highlighted that 53% of Council and voluntary sector services have reported an increase in homelessness in their area since the beginning of the pandemic, with a further 73% stating that demand for their services had increased since the beginning of the first national lockdown. It was also reported that although local authorities have welcomed the injection of funding and temporary uplift in local housing allowance, many are concerned about the temporary nature of these changes and what the landscape will look like for homeless services in the long term.
The emerging data from Illuminator, which provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date source of public sector spend data by aggregating and categorising the invoice data disclosed by well over 1000 public sector organisations, shows that total Council spend on homeless services could be set to see its largest year-on-year increase since Illuminator started collecting complete FY data in 2013/14.
Council spending on homeless services increased by an average of 4.86% each year between 2013/14 and 2019/20, but the emerging picture for 2020/21 shows that spend is set to increase by at least a further 14% when compared to the same time in 2019/20. While a four month “buffer” is applied to the data to ensure that it is complete, the chart below highlights how the early trajectory set by local authority spend tends to be maintained:
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