More than 3,000 people waiting for social housing as councils work through plan to prevent homelessness

A man sleeps rough in Nottingham city centre.
By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter

More than 3,000 people are now on the waiting list for social housing across three local councils in Nottinghamshire – with high rents in the private sector putting extra pressure on councils to prevent homelessness.

A new homelessness and rough sleeping strategy is being drawn up between three neighbouring authorities.

Broxtowe Borough Council, Gedling Borough Council and Rushcliffe Borough Council are working together on the new plan.

All councils say they face common challenges and want to come up with joint initiatives to reduce homelessness across the county.

Councils are worried the Covid-19 pandemic could see homelessness rise, including evictions due to debts and unemployment.

Most people affected by homelessness are single adult males, however, there are a number of single females and single females with children.

Over half of people assessed are under the age of 35.

The most recent figures for those at risk or facing homelessness are 135 people aged between 18 and 24.

The main reason behind people threatened with homelessness for all three local authorities is family or friends no longer willing to accommodate them.

There were 62 cases of this in Broxtowe, 29 in Gedling and 22 in Rushcliffe in the year 2020/21.

The second most common reason was end of private rented tenancy followed by domestic abuse and then non-violent relationship breakdown.

History of mental health problems appeared predominately. Rough sleeping figures were low, with five cases in 2020.

The waiting list data shows there are a significant number of people that are seeking and waiting for a social housing tenancy.

A report prepared by all three councils states: “There is an ever-increasing demand for social housing and supply outstrips demand.

“People are waiting longer for accommodation without the certainty of being allocated a property to meet their needs.

“The lack of settled affordable accommodation can mean households put their lives on hold or in some instances, are placed in temporary accommodation whilst waiting for suitable accommodation to be found.

“This accommodation can often be in the form of hotel accommodation.

“Previously the three boroughs had been able to access accommodation within the private rented sector, but as competition of rental properties increases, landlords routinely increase their rents.

“This means that many areas of Nottinghamshire are seeing rents far in excess of the Local Housing Allowance (LHA). This makes it increasingly a less viable solution.”

In Broxtowe, there were 2,151 applicants on the waiting list for social housing, 596 in Gedling and 594 in Rushcliffe.

The number of units of social housing by borough are 5,596 in Broxtowe, 4,864 in Gedling and 4,038 in Rushcliffe.

The three councils are putting a plan in place including improving links with registered social landlords that are looking to evict so the councils can improve early intervention.

There is also a plan to increase the amount of supported accommodation in South Nottinghamshire and to work to bring empty properties back into use.

The councils also want to improve accommodation options for rough sleepers and in times of severe weather.

Each council is set to discuss the plans next week at separate council meetings.

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