The number of residents accepted in York as being “homeless” was down to 105 during the last financial year.
Homelessness peaked at 460 in 2003 and has fallen gradually each year since then.
On 31st March, 65 people were living in temporary accommodation – again an all time low.
The figures have been published at a time when the Council will on Monday have its first public discussion on a decision made by the last Labour controlled Council to fit armrests on several City centre benches. Initially the arm rest were welcomed particularly by the elderly and people with disabilities who found that the rests made it easier to get up from the seats.
The modification was agreed without consultation and in a “behind closed doors” decision typical of the way that the last Council did its business. It later emerged that the change was intended to prevent people lying down on the benches and had been targeted at “street drinkers”.
The new Council is right to debate the issue in public. It is removes the armrests it will face criticism from disability campaigners. If it doesn’t, it will be accused of targeting vulnerable homeless.
Rather more constructively the same meeting will also discuss refreshing the City’s “Homeless Strategy”
NB Council house rent arrears gradually increased under the last Labour Council. The total amount owed went up from £431,231 in 2011/12 to £529,016 by the end of March 2015