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UK official statistics on homelessness: comparisons, definitions, and processes

Making government statistics accessible to everyone

Process maps for applicants of housing aid

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Version:
1.2.0
Updated:
Fri 12 February 2021
Next update:
May 2021
Download the UK homelessness statistics data file
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Click on a country to begin exploring their process map for people who are applying for housing aid.

During the process of applying for housing aid, a person might go through several types of stages. These include:

Entry point
Points at which people enter the application process
Assessment
Where a household's status is assessed against some criteria
Decision
Where the local authority makes a decision based on assessments
Outcome
Outcomes of decisions made by a local authority

To see more of the process map at once, you can zoom out by pressing Ctrl and - (PC) or and - (Mac); to zoom back in, press Ctrl and + (PC) or and + (Mac).

Applicant process maps

Tablist controls: use the tablist to toggle the visibility of their respective panels (below the controls).

Housing aid process maps for applicants living in England

To collect case level information on statutory homelessness in England, the Homelessness Case Level Information Collection system (H-CLIC) was established in 2018. The H-CLIC system provides detailed information on the causes and effects of homelessness as well as long term outcomes and prevention of homelessness.

The following information shows the data collected on homelessness applicants at different stages of the homeless process in England.

Official statistics are produced for each of the stages in the process model.

This is an entry stage

Housing authorities must consider all applications, in considering applications, authorities must find out if:

  • an applicant is eligible for an allocation of accommodation
  • they qualify for an allocation of accommodation

This is an assessment stage

The applicant is asked if they have slept rough at the time of application.

This is an outcome stage

Following the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 and under HCLIC the information gathered here is then used to produce rough sleeping statistics included in homelessness publications. This is not used as part of the rough sleeping count.

This is an assessment stage

Eligible households are those that meet eligibility criteria, which broadly concern UK immigration status and whether the household is habitually resident in the UK. More information can be found in Chapter 7 of the Homelessness Code of Guidance for local authorities.

This is a decision stage

Applicant is not eligible for assistance.

This is a decision stage

The applicant is eligible for assistance.

This is an assessment stage

The applicant is assessed to determine if they are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

This is a decision stage

The applicant is found to be not homeless. Housing assistance is not offered.

This is a decision stage

Following the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 (HRA), an applicant is threatened with homelessness if it is likely they will become homeless within 56 days. Prior to the introduction of the HRA an applicant was accepted as owed duties if they were threatened with homelessness within 28 days.

This is a decision stage

Prevention duties include any activities aimed at preventing a household threatened with homelessness from becoming homeless. This would involve activities to enable an applicant to remain in their current home or find alternative accommodation in order to prevent them from becoming homeless.

The duty lasts for 56 days but may be extended if the local authority is continuing with efforts to prevent homelessness.

This is an outcome stage

Homelessness has not been prevented.

This is a decision stage

Relief duties are owed to households that are already homeless and require help to secure settled accommodation. The duty lasts 56 days and can only be extended by a local authority if the households would not be owed the main homelessness duty.

This is an outcome stage

The local authority has assisted the applicant in securing suitable accommodation that will be available for at least six months.

This is an outcome stage

The applicant no longer requires assistance.

This is an outcome stage

The applicant has become homeless after 56 days of being owed relief duties and will now be assessed for eligibility for main duty support. Main duty support is support with securing accommodation, this usually takes the form of an offer of settled accommodation.

This is an assessment stage

The applicant is assessed to determine if they are eligible for main duty assistance. An applicant is eligible for main duty assistance if they are in priority need and not intentionally homeless.

Main duty support is support with securing accommodation, this usually takes the form of an offer of settled accommodation.

This is a decision stage

The applicant is eligible for main duty. They are unintentionally homeless and meet priority need criteria. Priority need criteria is included in the definitions. A full explanation of priority need groups and assessments are also contained in Chapter 8 of the Homelessness Code of Guidance for local authorities.

Main duty support is support with securing accommodation, this usually takes the form of an offer of settled accommodation.

This is a decision stage

The main homelessness duty is to secure accommodation until such time as the duty ends, usually through an offer of settled accommodation.

This is an outcome stage

Accommodation has been secured.

This is an outcome stage

The application has ended because the applicant no longer requires assistance.

This is an outcome stage

The applicant has refused the offer of accommodation.

This is a decision stage

The applicant is not eligible for main duty. They are either intentionally homeless and priority need or homeless and have no priority need.

Intentionally homeless households are those who have lost accommodation as a result of actions that they took or failed to take, and who also have a priority need for housing. Main duty support is support with securing accommodation, this usually takes the form of an offer of settled accommodation.

This is an outcome stage

When a household is accepted as being owed a main duty by a local authority the authority has a duty to ensure that suitable accommodation is available until such time that the duty ends. The main duty can end for other reasons, such as the applicant turning down a suitable offer of temporary accommodation or the applicant no longer being eligible for assistance.

This is an outcome stage

Homelessness has been prevented and accommodation has been secured for at least six months.

This is an outcome stage

The application has ended because the applicant no longer requires assistance.

This is a decision stage

The legal definition of homelessness in England can be found in Section 175 of the Housing Act 1996.

This is a decision stage

Relief duties are owed to households that are already homeless and require help to secure settled accommodation. The duty lasts 56 days and can only be extended by a local authority if the households would not be owed the main homelessness duty.

This is an outcome stage

The local authority has assisted the applicant in securing suitable accommodation that will be available for at least six months.

This is an outcome stage

The applicant no longer requires assistance.

This is an outcome stage

The applicant has become homeless after 56 days of being owed relief duties and will now be assessed for eligibility for main duty support. Main duty support is support with securing accommodation, this usually takes the form of an offer of settled accommodation.

This is an assessment stage

The applicant is assessed to determine if they are eligible for main duty assistance. An applicant is eligible for main duty assistance if they are in priority need and not intentionally homeless.

Main duty support is support with securing accommodation, this usually takes the form of an offer of settled accommodation.

This is a decision stage

The applicant is eligible for main duty. They are unintentionally homeless and meet priority need criteria. Priority need criteria is included in the definitions. A full explanation of priority need groups and assessments are also contained in Chapter 8 of the Homelessness Code of Guidance for local authorities.

Main duty support is support with securing accommodation, this usually takes the form of an offer of settled accommodation.

This is a decision stage

The main homelessness duty is to secure accommodation until such time as the duty ends, usually through an offer of settled accommodation.

This is an outcome stage

Accommodation has been secured.

This is an outcome stage

The application has ended because the applicant no longer requires assistance.

This is an outcome stage

The applicant has refused the offer of accommodation.

This is a decision stage

The applicant is not eligible for main duty. They are either intentionally homeless and priority need or homeless and have no priority need.

Intentionally homeless households are those who have lost accommodation as a result of actions that they took or failed to take, and who also have a priority need for housing. Main duty support is support with securing accommodation, this usually takes the form of an offer of settled accommodation.

This is an outcome stage

When a household is accepted as being owed a main duty by a local authority the authority has a duty to ensure that suitable accommodation is available until such time that the duty ends. The main duty can end for other reasons, such as the applicant turning down a suitable offer of temporary accommodation or the applicant no longer being eligible for assistance.

Housing aid process maps for applicants living in Wales

To collect information on statutory homelessness in Wales, local authorities are required to collect data on all households who apply for homelessness assistance and to provide aggregated outcomes based information to the Welsh Government.

The following information shows the data collected on homelessness applicants at different stages of the homeless process in Wales.

Official statistics are produced for each of the stages in the process model.

This is an entry stage

The person has applied to a local housing authority for accommodation or help in retaining or obtaining accommodation.

This is an assessment stage

Being "eligible" for homelessness assistance depends on your immigration and residence status.

This is a decision stage

The applicant is not eligible for assistance due to their immigration or residence status.

This is a decision stage

The applicant is eligible for homelessness assistance.

This is an assessment stage

The applicant is assessed to determine if they are homeless or threatened with homelessness. Criteria for this can be found in the "Homeless" and "Threatened with homelessness" boxes below.

This is a decision stage

The applicant is not deemed to be homeless or threatened with homelessness using the legislative definitions of "Homeless" and "Threatened with Homelessness".

This is a decision stage

A person is threatened with homelessness if it is likely that the person will become homeless within 56 days.

This is a decision stage

The local authority is satisfied that the applicant has become homeless.

This is a decision stage

The legal definition of homelessness in Wales can be found in Section 55 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014.

This is an outcome stage

The local housing authority is satisfied that:

  • the applicant has suitable accommodation available for occupation
  • the accommodation is likely to be available for occupation by the applicant for a period of at least 6 months.

This is an outcome stage

Includes assistance refused, non-co-operation and other reasons.

This is an outcome stage

The applicant has not been relieved and will now be tested to see if they fit in the category for those in priority need, and to check if they are unintentionally homeless.

This is an assessment stage

The applicant is assessed to determine if they have a priority need for accommodation.

This is a decision stage

The legal definition of priority need can be found in Section 70 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014.

This is an assessment stage

The applicant is assessed to determine if they are intentionally homeless. If the applicant is intentionally homeless then they do not meet the criteria for support. Intentionally homeless means the applicant intentionally did something or failed to do something that resulted in their homelessness.

This is a decision stage

The person deliberately does or fails to do anything in consequence of which the person ceases to occupy accommodation which is available for the person's occupation and which it would have been reasonable for the person to continue to occupy.

This is a decision stage

The authority has decided that the person is not intentionally homeless.

This is an outcome stage

The applicant is successfully relieved of homelessness, and the applicant has accepted settled suitable accommodation.

This is an outcome stage

Includes assistance refused, non-co-operation and other reasons

This is a decision stage

The applicant does not fit within a priority need group.

This is an outcome stage

The applicant has been successfully prevented, meaning:

  • the applicant is no longer threatened with homelessness
  • suitable accommodation is likely to be available for occupation by the applicant for a period of at least 6 months

This is an outcome stage

Includes assistance refused, non-co-operation and other reasons.

This is a decision stage

The legal definition of homelessness in Wales can be found in Section 55 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014.

This is an outcome stage

The local housing authority is satisfied that:

  • the applicant has suitable accommodation available for occupation
  • the accommodation is likely to be available for occupation by the applicant for a period of at least 6 months.

This is an outcome stage

Includes assistance refused, non-co-operation and other reasons.

This is an outcome stage

The applicant has not been relieved and will now be tested to see if they fit in the category for those in priority need, and to check if they are unintentionally homeless.

This is an assessment stage

The applicant is assessed to determine if they have a priority need for accommodation.

This is a decision stage

The legal definition of priority need can be found in Section 70 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014.

This is an assessment stage

The applicant is assessed to determine if they are intentionally homeless. If the applicant is intentionally homeless then they do not meet the criteria for support. Intentionally homeless means the applicant intentionally did something or failed to do something that resulted in their homelessness.

This is a decision stage

The person deliberately does or fails to do anything in consequence of which the person ceases to occupy accommodation which is available for the person's occupation and which it would have been reasonable for the person to continue to occupy.

This is a decision stage

The authority has decided that the person is not intentionally homeless.

This is an outcome stage

The applicant is successfully relieved of homelessness, and the applicant has accepted settled suitable accommodation.

This is an outcome stage

Includes assistance refused, non-co-operation and other reasons

This is a decision stage

The applicant does not fit within a priority need group.

Housing aid process maps for applicants living in Scotland

In Scotland, four systems (HL1, HL2, HL3, and Prevent1), are used to collect data on households applying as homeless to local authorities. The HL1 and PREVENT1 data collections collect case level data on Homelessness and Housing Options applications respectively and the HL2 and HL3 collections collect data on temporary accommodation.

If a household presents themselves as homeless or threatened with homelessness (within 56 days), the local authority will ask them to complete a HL1 form. The following information shows the data collected on homeless applicants at different stages of the homeless process using both the PREVENT1 and HL1 forms in Scotland.

Official statistics are produced for each of the stages in the process model.

This is an entry stage

A household seeks assistance for housing-related issues from their Local Authority.

This is an assessment stage

When a household seeks assistance for housing-related issues from their Local Authority a "Housing Options" application may be taken. They may be presented with advice on a range of housing options, including the opportunity to make a homelessness application if applicable. However, providing a "Housing Options" service is not a statutory function and the use of this type of service varies across local authorities.

Eligible households are those that meet eligibility criteria, which broadly concern UK immigration status and whether the household is habitually resident in the UK.

This is a decision stage

The applicant is not eligible for advice or assistance.

This is a decision stage

The applicant is eligible for advice and assistance as part of Housing Options.

This is an outcome stage

The "Housing Options" approach looks at an individual's housing options and choices in the widest sense, it features early intervention and explores all possible tenure options, including council housing, RSLs, and the private rented sector. The advice can also cover personal circumstances which may not necessarily be housing related, such as debt advice, mediation and mental health issues. Rather than just submitting a homelessness application, the applicant will be provided with other services such as employability, mental health, money advice and family mediation services, to assist with issues from an early stage in the hope of avoiding a housing crisis.

After being provided with advice and assistance there are then a variety of possible outcomes for Housing Options applicants. These include making a homeless application, moving into alternative accommodation or remaining in current accommodation.

This is an entry stage

A homeless application must be taken by the local authority if a person ("an applicant") approaches the local authority for assistance and appears to be homeless or is likely to become homeless within two months.

An applicant can be directed to make a homeless application via Housing Options or can do so directly, this will depend on individual local authority practice.

This is an assessment stage

The applicant is asked if they slept rough the previous night or have slept rough at least once in the last three months.

This is a decision stage

The information gathered here is then used to produce rough sleeping statistics included in homelessness publications. This is not used as part of the rough sleeping count.

This is an assessment stage

If a person ("an applicant") makes a homeless application, the local authority shall make such inquiries as are necessary to satisfy themselves as to whether he is homeless or threatened with homelessness.

This is an assessment stage

Eligible households are those that meet eligibility criteria, which broadly concern UK immigration status and whether the household is habitually resident in the UK.

This is a decision stage

The applicant is eligible for assistance.

This is an assessment stage

The applicant is assessed to determine if they are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

This is a decision stage

The applicant is not homeless.

This is an outcome stage

The authority lost contact with the applicant, or the applicant withdrew.

This is an outcome stage

The issue has been resolved before assessment.

This is a decision stage

A person is potentially homeless (threatened with homelessness) if it is likely that they will become homeless within two months.

This is an assessment stage

Where an applicant has been found to be homeless, or threatened with homelessness, the local authority must then assess whether the applicant became homeless or threatened with homelessness intentionally. Intentionality depends on the applicant having acted, or failed to act, deliberately, and being aware of all the relevant facts.

This is a decision stage

A person is not intentionally homeless if it would not have been reasonable for him or her to continue to occupy their previous accommodation.

The Local Authority has a duty to provide unintentionally homeless households with temporary accommodation until permanent accommodation has been secured.

In some circumstances, the Local Authority can provide non-permanent accommodation. These circumstances are laid out in the Homeless Persons Provision of Non-permanent Accommodation) (Scotland) Regulations 2010.

More information on intentionality can be found in the definitions and comparison information.

This is an outcome stage

A variety of outcomes are then possible for unintentionally homeless households.

These include:

  • placement in settled accommodation, interim accommodation or hostel
  • the applicant is returned to previous accommodation
  • moved in with friends or family

This is an outcome stage

The local authority lost contact with the applicant and therefore the application has ended.

This is a decision stage

A person is intentionally homeless if they deliberately did or failed to do anything which led to the loss of accommodation which it was reasonable for him/ her to continue to occupy.

This is an outcome stage

If a household is found to be intentionally homeless then the local authority has the duty to provide temporary accommodation for a reasonable period and to provide advice and assistance.

If a household is found to be intentionally homeless then the local authority has the duty to provide:

  • temporary accommodation for a reasonable period
  • advice and assistance

This is a decision stage

A person is homeless if they have no accommodation in the UK or elsewhere. A person is also homeless if they have accommodation but cannot reasonably occupy it, for example because of a threat of violence.

This is an assessment stage

Where an applicant has been found to be homeless, or threatened with homelessness, the local authority must then assess whether the applicant became homeless or threatened with homelessness intentionally. Intentionality depends on the applicant having acted, or failed to act, deliberately, and being aware of all the relevant facts.

This is a decision stage

A person is not intentionally homeless if it would not have been reasonable for him or her to continue to occupy their previous accommodation.

The Local Authority has a duty to provide unintentionally homeless households with temporary accommodation until permanent accommodation has been secured.

In some circumstances, the Local Authority can provide non-permanent accommodation. These circumstances are laid out in the Homeless Persons Provision of Non-permanent Accommodation) (Scotland) Regulations 2010.

More information on intentionality can be found in the definitions and comparison information.

This is an outcome stage

A variety of outcomes are then possible for unintentionally homeless households.

These include:

  • placement in settled accommodation, interim accommodation or hostel
  • the applicant is returned to previous accommodation
  • moved in with friends or family

This is an outcome stage

The local authority lost contact with the applicant and therefore the application has ended.

This is a decision stage

A person is intentionally homeless if they deliberately did or failed to do anything which led to the loss of accommodation which it was reasonable for him/ her to continue to occupy.

This is an outcome stage

If a household is found to be intentionally homeless then the local authority has the duty to provide temporary accommodation for a reasonable period and to provide advice and assistance.

If a household is found to be intentionally homeless then the local authority has the duty to provide:

  • temporary accommodation for a reasonable period
  • advice and assistance

This is a decision stage

The applicant is not eligible for assistance because of their immigration and residence status.

Housing aid process maps for applicants living in Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) is responsible for homelessness assessments and provision of housing. NIHE records data on those who present as homeless to the housing executive and decisions made on the four homeless tests.

The following information shows the data collected on homelessness applicants at different stages of the homeless process in Northern Ireland.

Official statistics are produced for each of the stages in the process model.

This is an entry stage

A homelessness "presenter" is a household that has applied to undergo a homelessness assessment by the Housing Executive.

This is an assessment stage

The applicant undergoes four tests as part of a homelessness assessment. These include testing for eligibility, homelessness, priority need and intentionality.

To meet the criteria for support the applicant must be eligible, which is reliant on residency, immigration status and previous behaviour. They must also be homeless and unable to reasonably continue to live in their home, and in a priority need group. A definition of priority need is in the definitions.

If the applicant is intentionally homeless then they do not meet the criteria for support.

This is an outcome stage

Homelessness has been prevented by an action or intervention by the Housing Executive, another agency, or the applicant themselves.

This is a decision stage

Homelessness application is still being processed.

This is a decision stage

Applicant has been accepted as statutorily homeless and awarded Full Duty Applicant status.

This is an outcome stage

The applicant is awaiting resettlement.

This is an outcome stage

Applicant has been awarded "Full Duty Applicant" status and subsequently:

  • the applicant has been rehoused in the social or private sector
  • the applicant has been presented with three reasonable offers of accommodation which are all refused
  • the applicant rehouses him/herself and is no longer interested

This is a decision stage

Applicant does not meet the statutory homelessness criteria.

This is an outcome stage

Applicant has withdrawn their homelessness application or has not contacted the Housing Executive within a specified period.