Council opens doors to homeless people in Warwick district - The Leamington Observer

Council opens doors to homeless people in Warwick district

Leamington Editorial 15th Jun, 2017   0

HOMELESS people in Warwick district are to be offered a bed in council-owned properties.

Across the district it is estimated around 20 people sleep rough, and there are more than 3,000 residents on the waiting list for a home, a handful of who are regularly forced to ‘sofa surf’, room share or stop in hostels.

But vulnerable people who would normally be put up in bed and breakfast accommodation – such as young people, those with children, and those sleeping on the streets – will now be provided with temporary shelter in three council-owned properties.

Warwick District Council say there are 18 spaces available, and if those are taken then they will have to resort to bed and breakfast rooms.

Labour councillors are delighted with the change after they recently put forward the suggestion, which was originally rejected by the Conservative-led council.

But following a rethink the Tories have decided to go forward with the plan which is set to save council taxpayers around £60,000 a year.

Labour group leader Coun Colin Quinney said: “We welcome the move to house homeless people with the greatest needs in council-owned properties rather than using bed and breakfast accommodation. It is definitely a step in the right direction.

“We believe that is a much better solution for these families, while costing the council less.

“We hope the Conservatives will now go further to meet the needs of all those on the housing waiting list or in unsatisfactory accommodation, by investing in more council house stock.”

Prior to the changes the budget for temporary bed and breakfast accommodation was set at £84,000, but it was estimated the the cost could rise to nearly £130,000.

The council do not keep the figure of the number of people using the temporary accommodation, but say between October and December last year there were more than ten who needed to access the service.

A report into homelessness in the district says: “As a local authority we recognise the detrimental effects that homelessness can have on an individual’s life. It can affect their health and well-being, their ability to find and maintain employment, to access learning and to maintain vital relationships.

“Given the adverse effects of homelessness, not only on the individual but their wider community, it is essential that services are provided to prevent homelessness wherever possible.”

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