Homelessness across England is on the rise. The number of households accepted as homeless by local authorities, in temporary accommodation, and/or rough sleeping have all increased since 2010. Rates are high in urban areas and yet many households in rural areas are threatened with or experience homelessness due to shortages of affordable housing in rural areas.
The challenges associated with preventing and relieving homelessness in rural areas can also be qualitatively different, exacerbated by: poor economies of scale; large travel distances and poor transport connections; constrained resourcing for specialist services; isolated communities; an ageing population; and limited alternative and emergency housing provision. The negative impact on affected households is no less significant than in urban areas – and could be even more so.
This research has found that central to addressing homelessness in rural areas will be making sure rural housing markets work for their resident populations by providing affordable accommodation across a range of tenures and types of home.