Homeless households reduce as prevention measures continue

Rough sleeper number up on target in November

Rough-sleeper-London-006A report on homelessness shows that despite the pressures of the Boxing Day Floods, numbers of temporarily homeless people were lower than forecast.

This and other outcomes will be presented to the Executive Member for Housing and Safer Communities on 18 July at 3pm, along with proposed targets and priorities for 2016/17.

In 2015/16 the council exceeded its target and reduced the number in temporary accommodation to 53. Statutory homelessness also continues to reduce with 91 cases in York in 2015/16 (an 11.6 per cent decrease on the previous year) which is in contrast to a national increase of 5.8 per cent. Added to that, 630 homeless prevention cases were successfully handled that year which the report recognises as a vital part of the service and significantly contributes to the reduction in statutory homelessness.

Providing bed and breakfast for families is recognised as a measure of last resort and then for no more than six weeks. As of the end of March 2016, there was only one household accommodated in bed and breakfast and this was not a family.

In addition, the council’s highly-successful Older Persons Housing Specialist exceeded targets by supporting older residents to meet their changing housing needs, and the service has been extended for a further six months.

Despite ongoing work, the commitment of agencies, continued resources and new flexible methods of working, the number of rough sleepers in York rose to 18 in November 2015.

York’s ongoing interventions by the council and partners – including Arc Light and the Salvation Army – means that the city has the resources to accommodate longer-term homeless people meaning that no-one need sleep rough in York. The city’s No Second Night Out scheme also helps rough sleeper in the city to find a place in a hostel.

The advice available to residents include work around mental health and housing to help people at risk to secure and maintain tenancies, while infrastructure improvements are being proposed for the Ordnance Lane temporary accommodation site.

National changes bring new challenges into social housing which could lead to the reduction in available affordable housing for rent which is likely to place additional pressures on the service.

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