May 11, 2020

COVID-19 Homelessness Index: 07.05.20 update

Guillermo Rodríguez-Guzmán

This blog is part of a series. To read the first blog introducing the Index please click here.

When we launched the COVID-19 Homelessness Index in late March, according to Public Health England’s data the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases was more or less doubling each week. Using these data for the last 3 weeks, we observe that the number of additional cases seems to be slowing down: in Early to mid-May the number of cases was increasing in around 25 thousand per week, which has now slowed down to around 13 thousand additional cases in the week leading to the 4th May. The maximum value of the Index which multiplies the number of people living in TA and the cumulative cases continues to increase but no longer doubles every week.  

The Index continues to highlight that the metropolitan areas of London, Manchester and Birmingham face the highest risks, due to high numbers of temporary accommodation units and instances of COVID-19, with London Boroughs consistently topping the Index. Other towns near to the capital, such as Slough and Reading are also amongst the most highlighted by this metric and have been moving upwards in the rank due to the high rates of infections over the last two weeks (Slough, +6 positions up; Reading, +10 positions).

In contrast to previous updates of the Index that highlighted mostly towns in the South of England, the areas that seem to be facing mounting pressures over the last two weeks are concentrated in the Midlands. Areas around Bedford, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool are still experiencing important increases in the number of additional cases reported per day relative to the rest of the country as represented by the colour of the bubbles.

Blackpool deserves a separate mention as the number of additional cases per week remains very high in comparison to other areas of the country, which translates on a continuous climb in the Index (+20 positions in the last fortnight, +41 positions in the last month).

In London, the patterns remain similar over time with Brent, Southwark and Lambeth consistently at the top of the Index due to the high numbers of both temporary accommodation and confirmed cases of COVID-19. In our previous update, we optimistically highlighted that the number of cases continued to increase but at a slower pace. By early May, this optimism seems well-founded as the number of additional cases by population size continues to dip in London Boroughs - some areas like Hackney, Newham, Waltham Forest and Enfield now have some of the lowest numbers of additional cases considering their population size. 

To download the full dataset, click here:

We will continue to update and adjust the Index as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases change over coming weeks, and also develop related resources and analysis to help decision makers harness the power of data in their responses to the crisis.

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