For today’s Rural Housing Week 2022 content, we’re raising the profile of rural homelessness and asking our local authority and housing association partners to take part in an important piece of research on this topic.
Rural homelessness is an unseen crisis in the countryside, driven by limited access to services and an absence of affordable homes. The extent of the crisis is unclear as limited rural data is captured in official statistics. Trends show that overall homelessness has increased in the last decade and where interventions have helped in urban areas, their impact is less successful in rural communities. A rural housing task force has commissioned a 12-month research collaboration between academics at Kent and Southampton Universities.
The rural task force comprises ACRE, CPRE, The National Housing Federation, Homeless Link, English Rural Housing Association, Hastoe Housing Association, The Rural Services Network, Citizen Housing, Trent and Dove Housing Association and The Rural Housing Alliance. Working collaboratively, the group have pooled resources to develop and fund the research, designed to secure evidence showing the extent of the rural housing crisis and what interventions will help tackle the problem.
Working with the researchers, the group will develop and share a series of recommendations to inform government ministers and future policy making. Existing research has largely focused on urban homelessness due to its inherent visibility, yet it has neglected a growing crisis facing rural areas. This lack of exposure has meant it hasn’t received the attention and investment it deserves from policymakers.
The research will bring together evidence, expertise and real-world case studies to recommend what measures are needed to make sure that the target of ending rough sleeping by 2024 includes the countryside. A final report will be published in Autumn 2022.
All housing associations, local authorities and organisations in Cambridgeshire who work on housing and homelessness are encouraged to take part in this important survey to help the task force understand and tackle the hidden issue of rural homelessness.