Quarter 4 - March 2018
Numbers in temporary accommodation have continued to rise from 635 – 686 in the period from 31st December 2017 which is normally expected as January is the traditional peak period for homeless presentations to local authorities.
Whether this is a continuing trend will be evidenced when the first quarter’s homeless statistics are published which will incorporate the impact of the commencement of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 which came into force on 2nd April 2018 and the full service roll out of Universal Credit in the north of the county with effect from 6th June 2018.
The trend of rising number of households accommodated in West Sussex in temporary accommodation is mirrored across the south east region and the current thinking is that this will continue as the effects of the Homelessness Reduction Act and full service roll out of Universal Credit are evidenced.

February 2018 performance

Numbers in temporary accommodation tend to rise at the end of a calendar year as lettings both in the public and private sector slow down so it is more difficult to move households on. However, January is traditionally the annual high point of homelessness presentations and therefore it would be reasonable to assume that the numbers in temporary accommodation will continue to rise in the immediate future.

Whether this is a continuing trend will become evident shortly as, particularly private sector landlords, are expressing greater misgivings about granting tenancies to households that are likely to be reliant on Universal Credit to pay the rent.

The local housing authorities are utilising their additional burdens funding to recruit more staff to deliver the obligations that are expected under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, which comes in to force on 1st April 2018 and will put a greater emphasis on homeless prevention activity.”

Quarter 3 - December 2017 performance

Use of temporary accommodation continues to rise across the South East and there is no reason to think that this will be reversed in the short term. Welfare reform and the introduction of Universal Credit in West Sussex over the next few months may result in private landlords being less likely to grant new tenancies to benefit dependent households. This could further increase dependency on temporary accommodation.
The relatively high number of households in temporary accommodation in the County reflects the shortage of affordable housing and the difficulties District and Borough Councils face in securing long term accommodation options for homeless households.
The County Council continues to support efforts to prevent homelessness through housing related support which is commissions as well as providing targeted assistance for families facing particular risks.