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Rural homelessness on the rise

28th March 2023

CPRE’s ground-breaking research shows that rural homelessness is on the rise – shooting up by almost a quarter in just a year. 

Many of us tend to see homelessness as an issue in urban areas. But CPRE’s ground-breaking research, with a coalition of charities, demonstrates that this is far from the case.

Fuelled by the cost-of-living crisis, soaring house costs and an increasingly catastrophic shortfall in local authority funding, rural homelessness is on the rise. Unlike in cities, the scale of the issue is obscured by where people are sleeping rough – in fields, woodlands or farmhouses.

It’s a hidden homelessness crisis – and it’s getting worse.

CPRE’s year-long academic study found an overwhelming majority thought that rural homelessness was a serious problem that was getting worse. Real life stories were shared with researchers – read the research below:

CPRE’s research

Sky News also highlighted the issue of increasing rural homelessness – see the report here:

Sky News report 

It’s a moral failure that in one of the richest countries in the world, farmers are having to care for people sleeping rough in their fields.

CPRE’s study found that overall, rural local authorities are receiving 65% less in government funding per capita than urban areas.

The solution is clear.

Alongside far better funded and supported rural homelessness services – we need to build more social homes in rural communities.

CPRE are working with the housing charity ‘Shelter’ to push for amendments that prioritise social housing in new developments and make it easier for councils to purchase land to build new social housing themselves.

CPRE’s research may have just scratched the surface of a hidden crisis – but this year we have a chance to make a real difference for the lives of people struggling in rural areas.