NEARLY 200 households approached Solihull council for temporary accommodation this March amid a national homelessness crisis – more than double the rate in the same month last year.
A council officer’s report was submitted this week to the health and wellbeing board outlining the borough’s homelessness strategy and the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act.
In a supporting document, figures showed nearly 300 temporary tenancies were granted to vulnerable families and individuals in 2017/18.
Solihull Community Housing (SCH) – the council’s provider of social housing – is assigned with supporting people who find themselves without a home.
The document showed the organisation had 190 households approach it in March this year.
A so-called homelessness crisis has prompted swift action from local authorities as rates of rough sleeping and people registering as homeless continue to soar.
In April the government introduced the Homelessness Reduction Act, intended to provide the homeless with greater and more efficient support to find shelter.
Council figures show over 120 households were in temporary accommodation at the end of March – which is 20 per cent above the national average.
Solihull Youth Hub – established in April last year in partnership with homeless charity St Basil’s – offers under 25s support if they find themselves homeless.
The hub assisted 600 service users in its first year.
The council officer’s report states: “To meet demand for temporary housing SCH maintain a portfolio of properties, mostly from the council stock but including the new purpose-built facility at Ipswich Walk and several single and multi-occupied premises which are leased from private owners.
“This has enabled Solihull to meet most demand with budget hotels being used only in exceptional circumstances.
“SCH has launched the ‘Solihome’ scheme through which it aims to meet this responsibility for some households in good quality privately rented accommodation and so far this year six households have been rehoused through this scheme.
“The Solihull Youth Hub staff assess all applications and provide advice and assistance such as family mediation to prevent homelessness where possible or to help the individual to access suitable accommodation, with support where required.”
According to homeless charity Shelter’s November report, Solihull has the third highest number of homeless people in the West Midlands with a conservative estimate showing 674 people as officially homeless, up from 485 in 2016.
This equates to one in every 314 people.