Homeless families being placed up to 300 miles away from home in out-of-area housing crisis

Monday, 13 May 2024

New research from the University of Nottingham has highlighted the extent of homeless households being placed out-of-area, sometimes up to 300 miles from home, in order to find accommodation. 

Out-of-area housing is a core element of the housing crisis currently being seen affecting families nationwide. Out-of-area housing, which sees people being placed in housing away from the area they currently reside in, represents a period of upheaval, insecurity and an event with many adverse outcomes.

Previous research showcased how placing people in out-of-area housing can negatively affect a household’s wellbeing, affecting areas of mental health, family relationships, employment and education disruptions and breaking established support networks.

Those who have children, have escaped domestic abuse, or have other vulnerabilities, are required by law to be provided with accommodation, which may include temporary accommodation including bed and breakfasts.

The Local Government Association (LGA) identify that the number of households living in temporary accommodation has increased by 89% in the last decade and 10% in the last year, with 104,000 households in temporary accommodation. This costs an estimated £1.74bn per year, coming at a time when local authorities have experienced significant cuts in resources.

Due to this stretch on resources, local authorities may place households in other local authority areas as a way of meeting demand, with approximately 40,000 households being relocated, sometimes over 300 miles away from their homes.

Dr Steve Iafrati, from the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham, explored the extent of this housing policy through the submission of FOI requests to English local authorities.

This research showed that 91% of local authorities placed homeless households out of area in 2022/23. 75% of local authorities also placed households more than 20 miles out of area. This included households being relocated from Fulham to Manchester, from Basingstoke to Ferryhill, and from Kent to Durham.

26 local authorities were also found to have a stock of temporary accommodation in other areas to place homeless households, including fifty per cent of London authorities.

Academics at the university also spoke to people that had been placed out of area, and they detailed the impact it has had on their mental health due to a lack of clarity of the length of these placements, increased distance from family and a lack of communication from their LGA. 92% of London LGAs also placed homeless households outside of the capital.

For many of the most vulnerable households, being moved into accommodation many miles away is enough to break connections with families, schools, work, and support services. The disruption is enough to create economic and social problems, as well as exacerbating existing challenges."
Dr Steve Iafrati, Assistant Professor in Social Policy

"The receiving local authorities are rarely informed and the bill for crisis interventions will fall on these areas. If the practice cannot be stopped, there needs to be a plan for how the worst impacts can be mitigated.”

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More information is available from Dr Steve Iafrati on

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