Homelessness is on the increase in London – more so than in any other area in the UK. Our analysis shows that one person in our capital city is forced into homelessness every 8.5 minutes.

There are many reasons why someone might become homeless – personal, social, systemic and political. As Londoners, we face some particular challenges not experienced as strongly by the rest of the country. 

Here, we unpick the top four systemic and political reasons driving homelessness in London: 

1. Not enough affordable housing 

  • London’s population is nine times bigger than the second-largest UK city, Birmingham. But there aren’t nine times more homes for everyone and there is a chronic shortage of good quality, low-cost homes available. In fact, in London, 300,000 are on the on the waiting list for social housing, and we're only building around a sixth of the social homes needed.
  • This means more people are pushed into the often unstable and risky private rental market. This brings us on to our next reason…

2. A risky private rental sector

  • More competition for homes in the private sector = higher rental rates and sadly, sometimes poor property standards. London actually has the second highest rental prices in Europe.
  • Studies show that in communities where residents spend more than 32% of their income on rent, homelessness rises quickly.
  • With theaverage Londoner spending half their hard-earned cash on rent, it’s easy to see how many are barely keeping their head above water. And then there’s always the risk of eviction…even if you’re following all the rules

3. A political choice to keep ‘no fault’ evictions 

  • Imagine being evicted and forced to leave your home for absolutely no reason. This is called being served with a Section 21 – and landlords are legitimately allowed to do this.
  • The Government promised to ban this unfair practice through the Renters' Reform Bill - but have delayed this indefinitely.
  • Between July and Sep 2023, there was a particular surge in London where 8,014 eviction notices were served – an increase of 35% on the same time last year. 

4. Discrimination and inequality

As unfair as it sounds, your ethnic background influences your likelihood of struggling with housing in London more so than in other UK areas. 

Here are the facts: 

Single Homeless Project began in 1975 when a group of six homeless men in London teamed up to create change. They wanted to see an end to rough sleeping and a city where everyone has a safe place to live and the chance for a fulfilling life.

Today, we help over 10,000 Londoners in crisis every year to leave homelessness behind, to be seen, to be heard, and find a place to call home.

Our expert teams prevent Londoners from becoming homeless and help people off the streets. We provide safe places to live and offer the support needed to recover, prepare for the future and become independent.

Iyou’re interested in finding out more about our work, subscribe to our newsletter.