105 West Norfolk families left in housing crisis last Christmas
More than 100 West Norfolk families required council support for homelessness in the run up to last Christmas, new figures reveal.
Following the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act in 2017, councils in England must provide support to eligible homeless households, as well as those at risk of becoming homeless in the next 56 days.
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data shows there were 133 households due support after applying for help from the borough between October and December, including 47 families with children.
Of these, 28, or 21 per cent, were at risk of homelessness, meaning the council had to work with them to prevent them losing their home.
The remaining 105 were already homeless, in which case the council has to help them secure accommodation for a period of at least six months.
A West Norfolk spokesman said: “The council considers homelessness and the supply of new housing including affordable housing a priority. The council’s strategy on tackling homelessness is broad ranging - It includes services to help support people who are facing homelessness and rough sleeping, to the direct provision of new housing including new temporary accommodation.
“The council is working to deliver a new housing advice service with Shelter to be launched next month.”
Almost a quarter homeless or at risk households in West Norfolk lost their last secure home because their assured shorthold tenancy ended.
There were also 15 households made homeless because their social tenancy came to an end – 11% of the total – while six came from supported housing, which could include refuges or housing for elderly or disabled people.
Of the social tenants, seven lost their homes because they had fallen behind on their rent.
What does homelessness look like in West Norfolk?
Of the households owed support by the council:
44 contained a person with at least one high need – six people had an illness or physical disability, 19 had a mental health condition and 2 a learning disability.
32 were headed by a single mother, and four by a single father.
Four were at risk of homelessness because of so-called no-fault evictions, after their landlord issued them with a soon-to-be banned Section 21 notice.
10 lost their last home because of domestic abuse.
One was sleeping rough at the time they applied for help from the council
46, or 35 per cent, were headed by a person aged 25-34 – the most common age group
Across England, more than 61,000 households were owed a duty under the act over the three months to December – more than 20,000 of them families with children.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Recent figures show encouraging signs that the Homelessness Reduction Act is making a real difference in providing vulnerable people with the support they need, and at an earlier stage.
“But we know there is more to do, which is why we’re investing £1.2bn to tackle homelessness, and empowering councils to build more council homes to ensure everyone has a safe and secure home to call their own.”