We need a better understanding of homelessness

Rates of homelessness in Enfield are amongst the highest in England.  There are 11,000 people living in emergency temporary accommodation in Enfield, including 5,000 children.

Each year around 650 families in Enfield become homeless and need emergency temporary accommodation.  Rates of homelessness fluctuate, but since 2010 there has been a significant increase in the numbers of households becoming homeless.

Source: DCLG P1E Homelessness Returns

Enfield is not alone. Homelessness has increased in other outer London boroughs, but the rate of homelessness has risen far more sharply in Enfield. Enfield now spends £66 million per year on temporary accommodation and is the second highest provider of temporary accommodation in England.

Source: DCLG P1E Homelessness returns

People usually spend around two and a half years living in temporary accommodation, and much of the accommodation is unsuitable, noisy, and overcrowded.  These families are more likely to experience poor health and children do less well at school, in part due to the disruption caused by multiple school moves.

Homelessness disproportionately affects black/black British residents in Enfield. For example, in 2017/18 almost half of homeless households in need of emergency temporary accommodation were classified as black/black British, yet less than 20% of Enfield’s population are black or black British. 

Source: DCLG P1E Homelessness returns / LBE Borough Profile

And the proportion of homeless families in Enfield that are black/black British has disproportionately increased over the past 10 years.  

Source: DCLG P1E Homelessness returns

Recent Council reports have tried to explain why rates of homelessness are so high in Enfield and various initiatives are underway to help reduce homelessness. However, these reports do not specifically address why black families in Enfield are increasingly and disproportionately affected by homelessness.  When it comes to housing, we need to know why there isn’t a level playing field for black families living in Enfield so this can be addressed.

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