Covid-19 has left many people struggling financially, but three local councils are now better prepared to step in and help those who find themselves in housing need.
Norwich City Council, South Norfolk and Broadland District have worked with 25 other local organisations to develop a new Greater Norwich Homelessness Strategy to help beat homelessness in the area.
The strategy has now been published following a consultation period last year and approval from each council’s cabinet
Through extensive review of local trends and issues, government policy, and engagement with priority groups and other stakeholders, the strategy identifies the key drivers for homelessness over the next five years and ensures resources are put in place to help meet the expected rise in demand.
The key drivers for homelessness highlighted in the councils’ strategy are domestic abuse or domestic breakdown, welfare reform and financial hardship, challenges in accessing private sector housing and the overall challenges being faced by single and young people.
Identifying these drivers puts each council in a much better place to respond to the challenges ahead and the strategy explores what actions the councils will take to tackle them.
Although the priorities are likely to remain the same even in light of the pandemic, they will be reviewed, monitored and adjusted as necessary during the life of the plan.
Councillor Gail Harris, Norwich City Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member with responsibility for social housing, said: “Preventing people from ending up on the streets through providing wrap around support is the primary aim of this strategy.
“Whether it’s ensuring a supply of affordable housing, providing advice to those in danger of losing their homes, or supporting those who are experiencing domestic abuse – councils working together with local agencies, is key to tackling homelessness.”
Broadland District Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Wellbeing, Councillor Fran Whymark, said: “The strategy underlines our commitment to work together to ensure robust systems are in place to help prevent people becoming homeless, particularly during this difficult time. While the effects of this pandemic have not yet been fully realised, we are ready to support our residents who need our help, when they need help. “
South Norfolk Cabinet Member Councillor Yvonne Bendle said: “We don’t want to see anyone sleeping rough and this strategy underlines our commitment to work together to help prevent that from happening, particularly during these very challenging times.”
Greater Norwich homelessness data:
- In Greater Norwich during 2019/20, the most common household type to seek preventative help were single households. (66%)
- During the financial year 2019/20 in Greater Norwich 193 households said that the main reason for the loss of their last settled home was because of domestic abuse. It is extremely likely that this number is higher due to under reporting.
- In Greater Norwich during 2019/20, the most common reason for the loss of a last settled home was friends or family no longer willing to accommodate (23%) followed closely by ending of private rented tenancy – assured shorthold (20%)
All above data and comparable data can be found at the MHCLG website.