Homelessness is associated with severe poverty and is a social determinant of health. It is associated with adverse health, education and social outcomes, particularly for children. Homeless households can be split into two groups - those who are "statutorily" homeless and those who are "non-statutory" homeless.
Homeless households contain some of the most vulnerable and needy members of our communities. People who are statutorily homeless are owed a greater legal duty than those who do not qualify for this status but in certain circumstances some of our most vulnerable people belong to the latter group.
To be accepted as statutorily homeless, a household must meet five qualifying criteria and one of these is that they must be in priority need, for example having dependent children, or another vulnerable person within the household (this could relate to physical or mental health or infirmity). In 2016/17 there were 28 applications for "statutory" homeless status that were not deemed to be in priority need in Gateshead [Chart - Statutory homelessness applications not in priority need]. This equates to a rate of 0.3 per 1,000 households, which is now significantly better than the England rate of 0.8. The Gateshead rate has reduced consistently year on year in recent times, having previously been significantly worse than England. This reduction is unusual compared to the majority of other local authority areas in the North East as well as Gateshead's comparative 'nearest neighbours' (as defined by CIPFA).
In 2016/17 there were 33 "statutory" homeless households provided with temporary accommodation whilst they waited for a home to become available [Chart - Statutory homeless households].
Households who are "non-statutory" homeless do not meet all five of the qualifying criteria for statutory status, which includes being homeless within 28 days, having a local connection to the area, being in priority need, and not being intentionally homeless. Many households meet some of the criteria but not all; this means that vulnerable households in priority need may not qualify for the full legal duty to be rehoused. The number of people in this group who are having difficulties and are seeking assistance from the local authority is increasing. For example, in 2010/11 there were around 1,700 non-statutory homeless households requesting assistance. In 2012/13 the number had increased to over 3,000.
 Statutory homelessness application not in priority need, PHE/DCLG, 2016/17 [PHOF website]
 Statutory homeless households in temporary accommodation, PHE/DCLG, 2016/17 (PHOF website)
 Gateshead Council Housing Services, 2010/11 - 2012/13