FEATURE16 December 2020

Homing in

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Charities Data analytics Features Impact Public Sector

Homelessness has proved difficult for governments and councils to resolve for decades. Can data help find a solution? The Centre for Homelessness Impact is trying to find out. By Liam Kay.


One in every 200 people in the UK is homeless. This stark figure, in housing charity Shelter’s 2019 analysis of government figures, shows the scale of the problem facing the government, local authorities and charities. The issue is not just a social and humanitarian one – it is also financial. The 2015 report At what cost, by homelessness charity Crisis, estimated that 30 people sleeping rough could cost £600, 000 a year, depending on the services needed.

Data analytics can help councils decide how to use their sometimes scant resources wisely when tackling homelessness. The Centre for Homelessness Impact, a charity that uses evidence tools to help address homelessness, worked with the Office for National Statistics to develop a platform called Share, with the aim of informing how preventing and ending homelessness should be framed and assessed.

The charity also runs a Housing Cost Calculator, which uses councils’ data to estimate how much it would cost to implement different housing ...