Homelessness Data England: Linking local authority data to evaluate homelessness policy
10 August 2020
In collaboration with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC), this project aims to create a linked dataset of information about homelessness in England, to improve our understanding of its causes and impacts.
This will allow decision makers to develop more effective policies to reduce homelessness and improve the lives of people across the country. Specifically, the Homelessness Data England project will involve linking Homelessness Case Level Information Collection (H-CLIC) data from across local authorities in England, and to other administrative datasets. H-CLIC data records local authorities’ actions under the 2017 Homelessness Reduction Act, which significantly reformed England’s homelessness legislation by placing duties on local authorities to intervene at earlier stages to prevent and reduce homelessness.
The project has three elements, some of which will be phased:
- The first aims to use the linked H-CLIC data from across local authorities to develop a better understanding of whether homelessness is resolved in the long-term, particularly across local authority boundaries. This will help to establish what works to prevent homelessness, and which elements of the Homelessness Reduction Act are most effective.
- The second aims to match together H-CLIC data and the Rough Sleeping Evaluation Questionnaire to identify how effectively interventions have prevented homelessness and improved other outcomes in the longer term. DLUHC already have rough sleeping evaluations in progress that would benefit from this work.
- Finally, the third element aims to match the H-CLIC data to data gathered from other government departments/health agencies to determine the wider circumstances and outcomes of people who have experienced homelessness, such as educational outcomes, employment, benefits and health. This will enable us to identify the wider impacts and longer-term outcomes, and estimate the costs of homelessness.
What is the potential of this newly linked data?
DLUHC intends to use the data to assess the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act, for example by identifying the factors associated with better or worse outcomes for households at risk of homelessness and to understand more about the factors that drive homelessness and how best to address them.
Ultimately, the project will provide central government departments, local public services and delivery partners with valuable information about the cycle of homelessness and its impact on the lives of those it affects, as well as the impact and cost-benefit of interventions and services targeted at reducing homelessness. The information should be useful to inform future service design and reform and investment decisions.
A deidentified version of the homelessness linked dataset will be made available to accredited researchers for approved projects that are in the public good through the ONS Secure Research Service in due course. Keep an eye on this page for further information.
In April 2022, there was also a roundtable discussion between third sector, policy and academic stakeholders and Homelessness Data England (HDE) project partners on the potential and use of the HDE dataset. This report captures the main findings of the discussion.
- Project lead: Lan-Ho Man, DLUHC
- Duration: October 2019 onwards
If you work for a local authority and have any enquiries about this project, please contact DLUHC here.
This project is funded by ONS via its core grant from the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) as an ADR UK partner.