Temporary accommodation is a type of accommodation sometimes provided to people experiencing homelessness. Temporary housing may include various types of accommodation such as hostels managed by the local council, hostels managed by charities, or flats and houses rented through a private property owner. In temporary housing, the participant will be charged rent that may or may not be supplemented with state or government welfare monies.
A key difference between temporary housing and other types of accommodation offered to individuals experiencing homelessness is that the individual has not yet been offered a stable or permanent alternative.
Although rules may differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, certain guidelines are often in place to ensure that temporary housing is not offered to women who are pregnant, families, or children under 18. These vulnerable groups are often prioritised and offered stable housing in a timelier manner.
Key criticisms of temporary housing are related to the removal of basic tenancy rights. This means that the person experiencing homelessness may not be provided with a standard notice of eviction. Additionally, resource demands on the council including a lack of appropriate housing, or funding issues mean that some individuals are not provided with enough information on the length of their stay in temporary housing and may reside in an unstable position for longer than is appropriate.
Temporary housing is viewed as a transitional accommodation that will provide the short-term solution of shelter from individuals experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. Other services may be required to assist the individual/s to more permanent and stable accommodation.
There are no studies measuring the effectiveness of temporary accommodation.
There are currently no relevant studies.
No evidence is available on which groups this intervention affects.
No evidence is available on which outcomes this intervention affects
If you are implementing a temporary accommodation programme, try to ensure that each service user has a plan in place as soon as possible for moving to permanent, affordable housing. If housing availability is limited, make sure your team manages users’ expectations about the likely waiting time for moving on to independent living.
Explore a range of move-on accommodation options and plan ahead to facilitate availability of suitable housing. Many private landlords will initially be reluctant to rent to people in temporary accommodation but some can be persuaded; compare different approaches and evaluate what works.
Good quality data on the population using temporary accommodation will help your team establish the size, demographics and needs of the population. Information about the cost of temporary accommodation will help inform cost-effectiveness comparison research.
Establish good relationships and communication with other service providers to ensure service users have access to the services that best meet their needs. At the same time, maintain a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the different organisations.
You will want to make sure that your team has the necessary experience, flexibility, people skills and time to help each service user access the formal and informal non-housing support required to accelerate their progress towards more permanent housing. Your team should be aware that some groups may need specialist support, e.g. young people and recent migrants may need training on tenancy sustainment, while families and low-income workers may need employment-related support.