Urgent plea to tackle rise in homelessness - The Stratford Observer
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20th Aug, 2022

Urgent plea to tackle rise in homelessness

URGENT action is needed to tackle the spiralling problem of homelessness in the district.

A motion to create more emergency accommodation for people made homeless, or a hostel for rough sleepers, will be put to a meeting of Stratford District Council’s Cabinet next week.

Coun Peter Morse, who has put forward the motion, is urging the council to fund the move bu using £1million received from Orbit Housing Association as the authority’s share of proceeds from the sale of garages in the district.

Currently the council leases a handful of homes from Orbit, which are available to families fallen on hard times.

But with more people needing emergency temporary accommodation, the council has turned to using bed and breakfast accommodation to keep them off the streets.

Coun Morse said: “Agencies supporting vulnerable people have suffered after Warwickshire County Council made cuts to the family support budget, and replacing of benefits with universal credit has also caused difficulties for lots of individuals and families.

“It is a desperately unsatisfactory situation to see families with children having to live in bed and breakfast accommodation. From both a moral and financial point of view, the council needs buy property to enable it to both supply emergency housing and supported accommodation.”

“There is a will to do something, if only to relieve the pressure on the budget. It’s an increasing problem and we need to come up with a solution.”

The surge in demand for accommodation is estimated to have cost the council an extra £450,000 in the past year.

The main factors for people needing accommodation were due to breakdown of violent relationships, ending of shorthold tenancies and eviction.

Citizens Advice South Warwickshire told The Observer it had seen an increase in the number of people needing help with housing problems.

CAB spokeswoman Helen Knight attends court hearings with tenants and has seen the number triple from over 30 to almost 100 in the past year.

She said: “My workload has increased in line with the impacts of welfare reform measures such as the introduction of the bedroom tax , the imposition of the benefit cap and the roll-out of universal credit

“In the vast majority of cases we are able to work with housing associations, lenders, private landlords and Stratford District Council to find affordable ways forward so that people are able to maintain their tenancies.

“We help people to budget and maximise their income, however the challenges in social housing are increasing and we are also concerned that private rents locally are out of reach for many people.”

Visit www.casouthwarwickshire.org.uk for help and advice on housing issues.

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