Council outline plans to increase properties to support homeless people

Published Thursday, 17 September 2020

A report to councillors will offer an update on the latest plans to increase properties to support homeless people in Coventry and the efforts of the Council and agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A report to councillors will be offering an update on the latest plans to address homelessness by increasing properties to support homeless people in Coventry, and the efforts of the Council and agencies in recent years and during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

A number of schemes are currently being pursued by the Council’s Housing and homelessness prevention services and these and others will be outlined to councillors at a Scrutiny Board meeting today.
Supported accommodation will be offered to homeless people who would otherwise be sleeping on the street; the schemes include a Cornerstone Property Deal, Let’s Rent scheme, and the purchase of other properties.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council and its partners have continued to support rough sleepers in the city.

The Council’s Outreach team, working alongside other agencies have helped more than 220 rough sleepers from sleeping on the streets or living in night shelters into temporary accommodation - maintaining contact with those sleeping rough throughout the pandemic.

The Council and other agencies have been addressing rough sleeping with the help of a homelessness prevention service that has been operating for the past two years; and agencies working from the Steps for Change venue in the City Arcade and other locations.

The Council also works with charities, churches and agencies across the city to prevent homelessness and to secure accommodation for those who end up as homeless. Coventry also has a Homeless Forum of 40+ agencies now meeting regularly.

Since August 2019 the Housing First scheme, was set up and has found accommodation with support long term entrenched rough sleepers who have complex needs.

Cllr David Welsh the Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities said: “I’m really grateful for the continued commitment and efforts of Council staff and other agencies under what are challenging times. We can’t overstate how big of an achievement it is to support this many rough sleepers off the street and the what has been achieved in recent years.”

“If we can purchase more suitable temporary accommodation we will be able to reduce our overall costs further.

“That’s why we working on a variety of schemes – including obtaining homes which were previously student accommodation.

“We are already working with other agencies as some of these schemes will be supported accommodation so that people can get the right support to keep them in their tenancy.”

The report will be forecasting additional expenditure due to the impact of Covid-19 of £1.3M. 

This largely covers the cost of housing rough sleepers during lockdown, although there is some allowance for further activity increase in the number of households in temporary accommodation as a result of increased financial hardship. 

Other pressure outlined in the report on housing and homelessness forecast an increase in demand from both families and single people through 2020 and into 2021. These increases are likely due to the following:

  • Evictions ending on the 20 September. We await further information from the Government regarding any future mitigations they are going to put in place to reduce the impact on homelessness.
  • With the likelihood of a recession and therefore unemployment increasing more households will struggle financially to meet their housing costs, whether this is rented or mortgage payments, and many will end up homeless.
  • During previous financial downturns there has been an adverse impact on young people living at home who are evicted by their parents/guardians due to pressures on the family.
  • It is likely we will see an increase in homelessness across all groups and therefore an increase of people living in temporary accommodation and an increase in rough sleepers.

Currently there are around 10-15 people sleeping rough each evening in Coventry. Approximately 95 people are being accommodated as a direct result of Covid-19 response. 

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