What are the Challenges of Reducing Homelessness?

Roger Barton | Homelessness & Tenancy Fraud Expert
Ahead of our upcoming Identifying and Reducing Homelessness course on 30th January 2018, we spoke with Homelessness Reduction Expert, Roger Barton, about his opinion on the challenges of reducing homelessness. Roger, who has over 20 years’ experience in preventing homelessness, and provides us with the necessary practical advice and support to develop strategies to reduce homelessness.

This blog is crucially timed to prepare you for the Homelessness Reduction Act coming into force. The Act places greater legal obligations on local authorities to reduce homelessness, including a new duty to prevent homelessness for all eligible applicants threatened with homelessness, regardless of priority need, and a new duty on public services to notify a local authority if they believe somebody is homeless or likely to become homeless.

1. What are the challenges of reducing homelessness?

The heart of the problem with homelessness in the UK is the failure to build enough housing in the right place to keep pace with the shifts in the rising population and the preferred style of living in smaller households.  Against this background, the reality is that in the 1930’s the cost of land was normally under 5% of the cost of building a new property it is now often above 70%.

So we must consider the options of greater use of the Private Sector and perhaps the use of Community Land Trusts as in Hastings and if we are prepared to use temporary housing in the form of those in Brighton based on shipping containers.

2. How can collecting and sharing data be used to help tackle homelessness? 

  • There are legal and ethical questions around homelessness data and that must be addressed or the figures can be very misleading or inaccurate.
  • The financial burden of dealing with homelessness can be eased if data streams are designed to show true costs.

With an emphasis on outcomes and results, the potential costs can be reduced.  For example how much do “temporary” accommodation or hostels cost compared to a form of immediate but supported permanent settlement?

3. How will attending the Identifying and Reducing Homelessness course improve individuals’ daily role?

The day will present some of the latest innovative thinking and experience in the field of homelessness, including David Mackintosh MP, member of the Communities and Local Government select committee, which sponsored the private members bill who will be discussing the impact of the Private Members Homelessness Reduction Bill.

A practical workshop will follow at the end of the day where delegates will develop on the ideas discussed earlier in the day and models of good practice which can be used in the short and long term in their homelessness reduction plan.

Homelessness remains a high priority and a visible issue that concerns the public. Using Anti-Social behaviour legislation is not going to solve issue and the course will address ways to alleviate problems whilst steering away from this route.

What measures do you think can be improved in your organisation to reduce homelessness? What tips do you have? Tweet us using #UMGTraining @UModernGov

Alternatively, If you would like to talk to member of our team about anything you have read in this blog; including  Identifying and Reducing Homelessness course on 30th January 2018, please contact us on 0800 542 9440 or email

Do you have a team of staff at your organisation who would benefit from Identifying and Reducing Homelessness training? We also offer this course as a highly flexible In-House training session, delivered direct to your organisation on a date to suit you. Contact our In-House Training team on to find out more.