The impact of homelessness on wellbeing
New values launched this week by HACT and Simetrica demonstrate the human cost of homelessness, placing monetary values on the massive uplift in wellbeing and happiness created when moving people from street homelessness into secure housing.
Using methodologies previously used by ONS to measure wellbeing, and by UK government departments to assess the impact of public policy interventions, researchers were able to place a value on the impact on individuals lives achieved by finding them a secure place to live.
The average impact of moving from rough sleeping to temporary accommodation has a value of £16,448 per person. A move from temporary accommodation to settled housing is valued at £8,019 per person. The highest average value is for the most significant tenure shift – from rough sleeping to secure housing – at £24,467 per person.
The impact of homelessness is often discussed in terms of the increase in demand on public services, but there is another impact that compounds the pressure on services like the NHS and policing: the human cost of homelessness.
HACT was commissioned by Affinity Sutton, Family Mosaic and Midland Heart to work with partner Simetrica to investigate the links between moving into secure housing and increases in life satisfaction. Given the increasing pressure on providers of homeless services and the affordable housing sector in general, the ability to quantify the human impact of rough sleeping and evidence the value of these services is crucial.
Using ‘Journeys Home,’ an Australian longitudinal dataset, Wellbeing Valuation was employed to isolate the impact of shifts in housing tenure on wellbeing and to determine the equivalent amount of money needed to increase wellbeing by that same amount.
Jim Vine, co-author of the report, commented, “These significant increases in wellbeing when moving out of street homelessness underline the vital work of housing associations in the provision of housing and support services for these vulnerable populations, as well as in preventing homelessness.”
Ruth Cooke, Chief Executive of Midland Heart noted, “Our outreach teams work each and every day to engage with individuals who have found themselves sleeping rough on the streets. We know that the sector faces some really tough challenges, but this important research underlines the very real human cost of homelessness and how vital our work is in giving vulnerable individuals the support they need to get them back on their feet.”
Neil McCall, Group Operations Director at Affinity Sutton: “Helping people to put down roots by providing them with safe and secure housing is our core business at Affinity Sutton. At a time when housing associations are facing unprecedented changes which will have significant impacts on our ability to build more new affordable homes, it is really important to be able to demonstrate the value of being housed.”
John Schofield, Group Research Director at Family Mosaic said, “Family Mosaic has a long term commitment to helping and housing homeless people. We know that individuals who experience long term homelessness will have significantly lower life chances than the general population. However while we are clear on the social value of providing secure and affordable housing, it can be difficult to accurately measure the true cost of homelessness. The HACT/Simetrica research therefore provides important data which will benefit any housing provider looking to develop or refine their service offer in this area.”