Concerns raised over West Norfolk’s rising homeless total

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Measures to provide temporary accommodation for homeless people in West Norfolk are being reviewed amid rising numbers of cases, councillors have heard.

The issue was raised during public questions at last Thursday’s full council meeting by Jo Rust, who said 117 unintentionally homeless cases had been accepted by West Norfolk Council in 2015.

That represents an increase of 17 on the previous year.

And Mrs Rust asked: “What steps has the borough council taken to rectify this dire situation?”

Adrian Lawrence, the authority’s cabinet member for housing, said officials were working alongside other organisations to look at the plans that are in place to support people in that position.

He said: “Officers are looking at proposals for additional fit for purpose temporary accommodation to replace bed and breakfasts.”

The meeting was also told that the number of applications on the borough’s housing register stood at 1,658 in February, an increase of 31 on the previous month.

Mr Lawrence said 161 new applicants had been accepted onto the housing register, while 38 had been accommodated in housing association properties.

But he insisted the council would not be affected by proposed new legislation, which plans to force social housing providers to sell off high-valued properties.

He said: “We are not a registered provider. We do not hold housing stock. It’s down to our registered providers.”

Critics have suggested the plans, which are due to be debated in the House of Lords later this month, could signal an end to social housing provision in its current form.

But the government argues the bill would enable sales receipts to be invested in properties that better meet the needs of local areas and support increasing home ownership.