Tackling homelessness in South Bucks
Statement from South Bucks District Council Leader, Cllr Ralph Bagge, on how the Council is looking to tackle homelessness
The National Audit Office report published yesterday highlighted the increasing levels of homelessness across the country and the increasing costs faced by Councils in providing support and temporary housing to those who are affected.
This national trend has been reflected in South Bucks, where we have seen a significant upturn in the number of homeless households applying to the Council for assistance.
The annual number of applications for homelessness assistance received by the Council rose from 59 in 2013/14 to 102 last year, 2016/17. Inevitably, the cost of providing temporary accommodation has also risen - from £63,680 in 2013/14 to £487,000 in the last financial year.
However, figures can never reflect the human cost to those people who face the stress and upheaval of losing their home, and the knock-on effects on health, family life, work and schooling.
The Council has responded by continuing to provide advice and assistance to all affected households, including temporary accommodation when required. One impact has been an increase in the costs being borne by the Council to provide the help needed.
The Council is responding to this by developing new options and initiatives building on the existing provision. This includes looking at what more can be done to prevent homelessness whenever possible and finding new and different ways of providing temporary accommodation that provides high quality housing for less cost than bed and breakfast accommodation.
This work is still at an exploratory stage, but over the coming weeks, we will be providing further updates on the actions that we will be taking. Most importantly, our focus remains on ensuring that those people who are facing homelessness in the District continue to get all of the help and support they need.
Cllr Ralph Bagge