Quarter 2 - September 2018
The County Council Members have committed funding to tackle homelessness across the county and have created a Strategic Housing role to jointly work with District & Borough Housing Authorities, co-ordinating activity and making best use of the resources available to meet this challenge.
 A strategic housing group comprising of WSCC and all the District & Borough Housing Leads meets regularly to take an overview of the homelessness situation in the county and are examining the feasibility of shared use of temporary accommodation, a unified approach to working with the private rented sector is West Sussex and other initiatives such as the development of modular housing to tackle the pressures on accommodation.
Quarter 1 - June 2018
The number of households in temporary accommodation in West Sussex has continued to rise from 686 in March 2018 to 730 at the end of June 2018.
 This mirrors the national trend of increased numbers of households that are living in temporary accommodation which rose by 5% to 82,310 with the loss of privately rented accommodation being the main reason for homelessness, cited by 24% of all applications.
It is thought that these trends will continue as District & Borough Housing Authorities are under increased pressure and duties to households brought in through the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 as well as the continuing full service roll out of Universal Credit across the county which is making the private rented sector reluctant to rent out properties to families reliant on this benefit to pay the rent.
A reduced access to private rented accommodation is also adversely impacting on the ability of local authorities to source alternative housing solutions for homeless or potentially homeless families and move them out of temporary accommodation.
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.
Background
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.