What data has been collected?
What we collect: England
The Youth Homelessness Databank collects data at a local level on the number of young people presenting as homeless or at risk, and their interaction with the council.
In England, data is collected directly from councils, through Freedom of Information requests. The returns form for the Freedom of Information requests issued can be found here.
The data collected allows us to understand how many people present to their council, as well as how many young people subsequently received an assessment, acceptance (that is accepted as statutorily homeless and therefore owed a full housing duty by the council) and that received prevention and relief support.
The map below shows the pathway through councils in England. The data in the Youth Homelessness Databank to date reflects the pathway before the enactment of the Homelessness Reduction Act. This Act changes how councils support young people who present as homeless or at risk, and more information can be found here.
The Youth Homelessness Databank also includes data on the reasons for young people leaving their last settled base for young people in England. This data has been collected since 2015/16 and the reasons included fall into the categories included in central government data collection.
What we collect: Devolved Nations
The responsibility for tackling homelessness is devolved and councils across each of the nations have different duties to those who approach them for help.
In Wales, the Wales (Housing) Act 2014 led with a shift towards prevention and relief work before any full housing duty. After April 2015, all young people who present to their council in Wales should be assessed and provided with prevention or relief support, informed by their circumstances. A full housing duty is then only owed to those in priority need in the event that this support is not successful.
In Northern Ireland young people who are eligible, unintentionally homeless and in priority need are owed a duty to help them secure accommodation.This responsibility lies with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), as opposed to local authorities. For anyone who is not owed a housing duty, the NIHE has a duty only to provide advice, though often additional prevention and relief work is carried out.
Scottish homelessness policy operates on a different model, weighted towards providing a full housing duty over prevention and relief. The abolition of priority need on 31st December 2012 means that all eligible and unintentionally homeless young people are now owed a housing duty from their council.
Data for these regions is collected from central sources. In Scotland, the Housing and Homelessness Statistics team provide the data, in Northern Ireland it is the NIHE, and in Wales the data is publicly available from the StatsWales tool.
Currently, data is collected on the number of young people approaching their council as they are homeless or at risk, and the number subsequently assessed and accepted as statutorily homeless. In Wales data is also collected on the number of young people receiving prevention and relief support, though as this duty was formally introduced in April 2015, data on this from previous years will not be comparable.
In all these regions all young people approaching their council should be assessed, and this is reflected in the data.
Why we collect it
There is no official data on the scale of youth homelessness in the UK, either on a national or local level. This information is crucial to ending youth homelessness.
In England, whilst the government does publish some data on youth homelessness here, currently this only includes young people who were accepted as statutorily homeless. These young people were deemed to be unintentionally homeless, eligible and in priority need (for example pregnant or under 18) and therefore represent only a small proportion of the total number of young people seeking help.
The Youth Homelessness Databank widens the information available on youth homelessness by including data on the number of young people in need, as well as the number of young people receiving support (through acceptances or lighter touch prevention and relief support).
What the data shows
Data from the Youth Homelessness Databank shows that 103,000 young people presented to their council as they were homeless or at risk of homelessness in 2017/18. Read more about the findings from this year's data collection here.
What you can do
Find out more about what you can do on this website by looking at our What can I do with the data? page.