The report into homelessness in York – which slightly mysteriously disappeared from a recent meeting agenda – has finally been published.
The report covers the last financial year. It reveals that the number of rough sleepers had reduced from 9 to 7 when the annual census was completed last November. However, the new COVID measures meant that that number had reduced further to 2 by the end of March.
The number of households leaving in temporary accommodation also reduced from 66 to 62 while none had been accommodated in Bed and Breakfast accommodation for over 6 weeks. The numbers presenting to the Council as homeless increased from 61 to 99.
There were 1597 households on the housing waiting list at the end of the year. The numbers have remained static for several years.
It markedly fails to mention the number of empty Council properties in the City or what is being done to reduce void times. 286 homes became available for re-letting last year compared to 284 the previous year.
The number of new build affordable houses also increased (see table)
Homelessness is likely to increase in the City as unemployment increases in the wake of the health crisis. This may be exacerbated as the rent freeze also comes to an end.
Shelter the UK housing charity is claiming that “42 children
in York” are homeless or living in temporary accommodation each day. The claims
are difficult to reconcile with official figures published by the York Council
earlier this week
According to the York Council, 29 beds are available for single homeless people facing rough sleeping.
The number of rough sleepers has reduced from 29 to 7.
Couples with children are given priority access to council house vacancies. 37 households with children were given priority housing last year.
In 63 cases this year couples were housed in temporary accommodation for a short time. Families are not normally accommodated in “Bed and Breakfast” accommodation in York.
The figures reveal that the major cause of homelessness in the City was “family and friends no longer willing to accommodate the households”.
263 of the 684 homeless acceptances gave that as the reason for their predicament.
The next highest reason for homelessness was the end of a private rented tenancy.
A report to a meeting taking place later this week,says that the City of York Council is currently in a partnership with other organisations across York, under the guidance of the Homelessness Strategy 2018- 2023 Preventing Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Together. “This partnership has been well established for many years and continues to attempt to rise to the challenges of tackling all forms of homelessness”.
The report does however also observe that “We still have a strong street culture which remains difficult for people (especially those with addiction issues) to break away from, the camaraderie and financial gain made from begging remain strong contributing factors. This often results in members of the public assuming that rough sleeping numbers are higher than the actual number of people rough sleeping”.
Residents and business are being invited to see plans on 1st November for a single building to be converted to meet City of York Council’s accommodation requirements for temporarily homeless people.
Following approval by senior councillors on 16 March 2017, James House on James Street has been bought and is in the pre-planning stage.
Now, ahead of an application for planning permission being submitted in early November, residents are invited to see for themselves an exhibition of plans for the proposed 57 self-contained flats which will be owned and managed by City of York Council.
The project is being supported by a £2.365m grant from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).
The plans aim to consolidate into one building, much of the accommodation for temporarily homeless people currently scattered across the city. It will also replace the accommodation at Ordnance Lane.
At James House, it’s proposed that the more-easily managed building will include a public reception, staff offices, interview rooms and a training kitchen. It will have council staff on site from 8am to 8pm seven days a week, and will have on-site security staff outside those times.
In addition to the formal planning application consultations, the public exhibition of the proposed scheme will be held on Wednesday 1 November between 9:30am and 3pm at the Raylor Centre, James Street, YO10 3DW which is next door to James House itself.
Acomb residents invited to Oakhaven redevelopment event
Residents and businesses in the Acomb Road area of the city are being invited to find out more about the short and long term plans for the redevelopment of the former Oakhaven Older People’s Home next week (Tuesday 28 June).
The Councils plans for the Lowfields school site are expected to be published tomorrow
The council’s longer term plans for the site will see the creation of a new Extra Care facility for older people in the Acomb area: part of the authority’s Older People’s Accommodation Project which aims to secure high quality accommodation to meet the needs of York’s ageing population.
If approved, the flexible accommodation will enable residents, including those with complex care needs such as dementia, to live independently in their own homes on the site, with on-site personal care available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, should they need it.
The authority will shortly begin the process to find a partner to develop the facility at Oakhaven and in 2017 will seek planning consent for the new building.
In the immediate short term, the council is proposing to use the building as accommodation for up to 15 local families and individuals who need temporary accommodation. The facility will be managed by on-site staff seven days a week and the proposals will be subject to planning consent.
Local residents are being invited to attend the drop-in event next Tuesday (21 June) at Oakhaven between 4-7pm to find out more about the short and long term plans for the site.