New research: Finding an affordable home becoming increasingly tough
New local data obtained by Leicester’s Homelessness Charter shows the stark reality faced by many of the people who we support – finding an affordable home in Leicester is becoming increasingly difficult. Crisis has been interrogating data sets from Zoopla on private rented sector (PRS) listings across England. Using data from 5985 listings in September 2022, for properties between 1 and 3 bedrooms, Crisis cross-checked average rents with local housing allowance (LHA) rates as a measure of ‘affordability’ and found a range of between only 0 and 7% were affordable across the country.
Leicester City Council in their 2022 Homelessness Review showed that it was closer to 5%. However, the most recent data from Crisis from September 2022 shows it is actually closer to 3% of PRS rents that are affordable to those on low incomes or benefits aligned with LHA rates.
Having listened to people with personal experience of homelessness, we know that high ongoing rent costs are only one of many barriers to private rented accommodation as people are also asked to provide large deposits upfront and guarantors, something that is out of reach for so many of the people who we support. The Local Authority in Leicester works with the PRS and landlords to offer a range of services and incentives in an attempt to increase the number of affordable homes. As a result of this, an additional 200 properties per year have been made available to those on the register to secure, but it is not enough to meet demand.
We are only able to break the cycle of homelessness when people can find and keep a stable home. The soaring cost of rent is making the private rental sector inaccessible to people on low incomes. This has a two-fold effect, pushing more people into homelessness as they are unable to keep up with rent payments and trapping people experiencing homelessness in temporary accommodation with very limited options to moving on. This is affecting a wide range of people, as data from Crisis shows that due to the lack of affordable move on accommodation available, the average time it takes to be placed in emergency accommodation after sleeping rough has risen from 7 days in 2019 to 43 days in 2022. There is also a stark increase in family homelessness in the city, rising from 53 families in 2019 to 110 families in 2022.
Read more about the affordable housing crisis here:
Clients from our services shared their personal stories of homelessness and the difficulties they’ve faced in finding private rental accommodation on BBC Radio Leicester on 07/09/23. You can listen to their stories until the 05/10/23 on BBC Sounds, we were air at approximately 8am.
Image: Centre for Homelessness Impact