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City challenges national trend for rising homelessness
Release date: Thu, 09/08/2012
Bristol is challenging the national trend which is showing a sharp rise in the number of people becoming homeless, new figures have revealed.
Bristol has not seen the sort of rise in the number of people becoming homeless that has been recorded nationally and it is performing better than a number of other, comparable, core cities.
It is fourth-best performing authority in terms of preventing homelessness among seven core cities after Birmingham, Newcastle and Nottingham - ahead of Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester.
In all, the council, through internal and externally-commissioned services, prevented 2,969 people becoming homeless in 2011-12, the highest level the authority has ever recorded and an increase of eight per cent on 2010-11.
The annual statistics indicate that the economic downturn has led to an increased demand on the city’s homelessness services - as anticipated.
Councillor Anthony Negus, Cabinet Member for Housing, Property and Regeneration, said: “We knew that the economic situation would place much greater demands on our homelessness services and this is the case.
“But we have prepared for this challenge and we have maintained our focus on intervening at an early stage in order to prevent someone becoming homeless in the first place, something which is reflected in the latest figures.
"Of course, every homeless person is one too many and we are striving to be as effective as possible in our prevention and support.”
The statistics for 2011-12 show that:
- Nationally the number of statutory homeless acceptances rose by 14 per cent in 2012, compared to 2011 while in Bristol it rose by 8 per cent
- The use of temporary accommodation rose by two per cent nationally at the end of December 2011, compared to December 2010, while in Bristol there was no increase during the same period
- Rough sleeping nationally rose by 23 per cent between autumn 2010 and autumn 2011, while in Bristol the rise was 14 per cent
- Homelessness acceptances by BCC under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 rose to 299 in 2011-12, up 40 per cent on the previous year. However, early indications are that acceptances are set to fall in 2012-13. But the council is still experiencing a very high demand for homelessness prevention advice
- The number of households approaching the council in mortgage difficulties remains low at 18 between April and December 2011
- The numbers of households in bed and breakfast accommodation has fallen steeply from historic levels to an average of two to five
Following a successful bid for national funding under the No Second Night initiative, a senior co-ordinator and NSNO case worker has begun working with the council’s Streetwise team and St Mungos, the charity appointed by the council to provide homelessness services and run the Compass Centre.
The city council was awarded £120,000 by Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to try and identify the extent of the problem of ‘hidden homelessness n Bristol, focusing on a pilot area in the Barton Hill area. A report on the findings and the action plan that will be put in place to tackle the identified causes is due to be published in September 2012.