Councillors have been looking at ways to tackle the increasing rates of homelessness in the city and the spiralling costs of providing temporary accommodation for families.
Figures for Coventry indicate that in 2016/17 there were 638 people and families classified as homeless. Many of whom are housed in bed and breakfast accommodation.
Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee have been discussing key issuing affecting homelessness in Coventry and welcomed Nathan Slinn from the Salvation Army. Also attending the committee meeting were other agencies who work with people affected by homelessness.
Cllr Richard Brown, chair of the Council’s Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee, said that it was vital that families should be able to live in permanent accommodation. He said that it is clear from the meeting that the Council needs to bring lots of agencies together to share their expertise to help tackle the problem.
He said: “There are dozens of families in the city who are living in bed and breakfast accommodation. This has a significant effect on a whole range of social issues.
“Often the only experience that the public have of homelessness is in the city centre. There are many people in the city centre that we are sign posting to longer term accommodation but there are many more families who are affected by the current housing market who go unseen by the public.
“We need to do more work with partner organisations to increase the availability of more suitable accommodation.”
Current work underway includes a project jointly run by the Council, Whitefriars and Valley House which is looking to convert a previous care home into temporary accommodation for up to 32 families, reducing reliance on bed and breakfast.
In 2017 the government also introduced the Homelessness Reduction Act. The legislation requires that the act comes into force in Coventry from 1 April 2018.
The reduction act places a legal prevention duty on local authorities to intervene in homelessness cases earlier and maintain involvement with services users for longer.
The Council has also adopted a local plan to encourage the development of affordable housing developments.
Recommendations made at today's meeting will go forward for further consideration by the Council.