Successful lives

More affordable housing need to ease rural homelessness

Rooftop Communications Team
July 3, 2023

Homelessness is more often associated with city centres than the countryside. However, a recent report showed that the issue has extended to remote countryside regions.

The report “Homelessness in the Countryside: A Hidden Crisis”, was conducted by researchers at the University of Kent and the University of Southampton for a coalition of rural advocates and housing associations, and it highlighted the noticeable issues of homelessness in rural areas.

According to the report, 91% of respondents in rural areas have seen homelessness increase in the past five years. Yet, at the same time, the “shame and stigma” of homelessness keep many vulnerable individuals out of official figures.

The report also reveals individuals in the countryside struggle to maintain a basic standard of living. They hide in agricultural buildings, outhouses, farmland, or sofa-surfing.

It is a hidden crisis.

Several factors contribute to the surge in rural homelessness—for example, limited job opportunities, high cost of food and transport and unavailable support services.

The report also said that high housing costs are a fundamental driver of rural homelessness, adding that funding and support for genuinely affordable housing and housing costs are inadequate and have a limited impact in rural areas.

It was positive to hear that the Government recently announced an additional £3.3 million in funding to improve night shelters.

However, for rural homelessness, we believe housing providers in the regions can bring about positive change in addressing the issue.  

With our expertise in housing provision and community development, we are in the right position to work with local authorities, charities and community groups to tackle the difficult issue together.

By identifying suitable sites for new housing projects and providing affordable homes, we are able to offer secure housing options for different needs and help revitalise rural communities.

We can go further by signposting support services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

The report highlights the urgency of addressing homelessness in rural areas. As a housing association serving rural areas, we have a role in providing affordable housing solutions and supporting those in need.

We will work closely with local authorities and communities to ensure people in need can access safe and secure housing.


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Rooftop Communications Team
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