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Homelessness in the South West

  • by JW

Homelessness in rural areas has more than doubled in the last two years


In a piece out today, the Big Issue reminds us that its Stop Mass Homelessness campaign was launched in the summer “to warn of a coming storm. Falling Covid-19 support now risks homelessness on a scale we have never seen before and the costs of failing to act could be great“:

How we could avoid the looming homelessness crisis – and save billions at the same time |

Rising bills and rent arrears will lead to ‘mass homelessness’ warns Big Issue |

It’s now some three and a half years since these news pages looked at the situation for people living on the streets in this part of the world:

Since then, things have only got worse – not helped by the recent trend of working from home and staycations:

This week, there have been several reports on the issue in the West Country:

Young family threatened with eviction after having baby could be homeless by Christmas |

Millions needed to tackle Cornwall’s housing crisis |

Charity predicts growth in borough homelessness |

One report in particular has been picked up – from the Rural Services Network out this week:


Rural homelessness is an unseen crisis in the countryside, driven by limited access to services and an absence of affordable homes

The extent of the crisis is unclear as limited rural data is captured in official statistics. Trends show that overall homelessness has increased in the last decade and where interventions have helped in urban areas, their impact is less successful in rural communities. A rural housing task force has joined forces to shine a light on the crisis by commissioning a 12-month research collaboration between academics at Kent and Southampton Universities...

Homelessness in rural areas has more than doubled in the last two years and is rising. In the countryside, reduced government grants to Councils, a lack of affordable accommodation, limited public transport, social isolation, and a shortage of specialist resources makes it a complex issue to prevent. This has been worsened by the pandemic following a temporary pause on evictions, a rise in domestic violence and unearthed socio-economic inequalities.