Coalition launches to confront rural homelessness crisis

A new coalition has been launched during Rural Housing Week to combat the escalating rural homelessness crisis.

By City Monitor Staff

A new collective called the Rural Homelessness Counts Coalition has been established to address the rapidly escalating crisis of rough sleeping in the English countryside. Comprised of more than 20 leading charities and housing associations, the coalition aims to spearhead a nationwide response to the growing issue in direct response to alarming research findings that highlight the severity of the problem and the urgent need for action.

rural homelessness
Rural homelessness takes many different forms. (Photo courtesy of Rural Homelessness Counts Coalition)

A comprehensive research study conducted by the Universities of Kent and Southampton, along with a team of advocates and homelessness experts, has revealed notable statistics regarding the crisis. Within a single year, official government rough sleeping numbers in rural areas have witnessed a 24% increase. Moreover, 91% of rural respondents have reported witnessing a rise in rough sleeping over the past five years. The research has also uncovered a funding gap of 65% in per capita spending on the homelessness prevention grant between urban areas and the countryside.

As Rural Housing Week 2023 commences, the Rural Homelessness Counts Coalition officially launched today (3 July 2023) to address the often overlooked and misunderstood issue of unhoused people in the countryside. Led by English Rural, The National Housing Federation and CPRE, among other key organisations, the coalition is guided by five key principles: prevention, inclusion, community, place-based solutions and visibility. These principles form the foundation of the coalition’s mission to combat rural homelessness through evidence-based policy and practice it stated in a release.

Prominent voices support Rural Homelessness Counts Coalition

Rory Weal, strategic policy lead at English Rural and leading the coalition, expressed the significance of this launch, stating, “These new figures underscore the unacceptable rates of homelessness in our communities. The launch of the ‘Rural Homelessness Counts Coalition’ marks a significant step forward in our fight against rural homelessness. This coalition brings together a diverse group of organisations committed to shining a light on this hidden crisis and working towards sustainable solutions. It’s time we give rural homelessness the attention it deserves.”

The Coalition aims to raise awareness about the hidden crisis and promote effective strategies to tackle the issue. They seek to encourage the adoption of evidence-based best practices in rural communities. Additionally, the coalition aims to foster partnerships with local authorities, housing associations and other stakeholders to address the unique challenges of associated with the issue.

Dr Carin Tunåker, a researcher at the University of Kent responsible for the report, expressed her support for the coalition: “Our research has shown that rural homelessness is a real and growing problem that requires urgent attention. The ‘Rural Homelessness Counts Coalition’ represents an innovative and exciting opportunity to address this issue. By working together, we can ensure that everyone, no matter where they live, has access to a safe, affordable home.”

[Read more: Homeless people deserve the same right to their belongings that we all have]

Content from our partners
The key role of heat network integration in creating one of London’s most sustainable buildings
The role of green bonds in financing the urban energy transition
The need to grow London's EV infrastructure at speed and scale

Topics in this article :
Websites in our network