Housing & Homelessness

Housing & Homelessness
VCOs across Southwark save money through preventing homelessness

 “We worked with 200 people at risk of homelessness to help them on their journey back to full time employment and self-sufficiency.  We trained 20 individuals as apprentice chefs and ensured they achieved a Cookery Skills NVQ and carried on in full time employment.”

In 2013/14 Southwark had the 20th highest homelessness acceptance rate nationally. The cost of one homelessness application (including on-going associated costs) is estimated to be £2,724. Additionally, one rough sleeper will cost a local authority £8,605 per annum.

Therefore, we could say that by preventing 200 potential homelessness applications, or 200 one-year stints on the street, this particular charity has saved the public sector either £544,800 or £1,721,000.

This does not take into account the wider socioeconomic costs of homelessness, which are huge. In 2008, the New Economics Foundation (nef) estimated that if one person were homeless for one year, this would cost the public sector between £24,500 and £26,000.

A 2012 review of the financial costs of homelessness by the Department for Communities and Local Government estimated annual public spending to be up to £1 billion higher as a result of homelessness.  

“We give financial support so have managed to stop people being evicted by paying their rent arrears. We also help with general hardship so will replace white goods etc. so people can maintain a minimum standard [of living]”.

As well as being hugely stressful for an individual, evictions are very costly to execute. The average fiscal cost of a complex eviction to the local authority is estimated to be £7,276 per incident. If this charity prevented just two people from having to be evicted, it would have saved the public sector nearly £15,000 - and this does not take into account emotional cost of an individual losing their home and the impact this could have on their wellbeing.