Nottingham struggling to cope with big increase in number of homeless families

Rough-sleepers bed down in the doorway of Nottingham's old Debenhams store.


By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter

Nottingham City Council is facing an avalanche of applications from local people who say they have been made homeless.

The authority is currently looking after 600 families and individuals in temporary accommodation, including hostels, leased houses and B&Bs.

But this number is increasing at a rapid rate.

Cllr Linda Woodings (Lab), portfolio holder for housing and planning, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We had 115 households (families and individuals) through the doors only last week, presenting as homeless.

“I feel for them – we are facing an avalanche of homelessness. We’re running up an escalator and we can’t keep pace with the demand coming through the doors.

“It is causing massive implications. More people will end up in B&B accommodation and the cost to the councils will rack up. It is unsustainable as for council budgets.”

Cllr  Woodings said one of the reasons why more homeless people are arriving at the council offices is rental tenants  have less protection from eviction.

During lockdown, eviction notice periods were extended to six months as an emergency measure by the Government. Now the period is four months – and from October it  will be two months.

This also means people without homes have to stay in temporary accommodation for longer.

“Renters don’t have enough rights,” she added. “Two months notice of eviction does not give us a meaningful period of time to find a meaningful solution. I would like to see six-month notices.”

The Labour-run authority is already forecast to exceed the £890,000 budget it set to deal with homelesness..

There are currently 17 households in B&B accommodation – with £117,000 already spent on hotel rooms this financial year, compared to £66,000 in the whole of last year.

The council is also worried about availability of rooms as Nottingham ‘opens up’ and more tourists arrive in the city for events such as the Test Cricket at Trent Bridge.

In addition, more homeless applications are coming from families.

Between March 2020 and December 2020, families represented 10 per cent of all applications. This year the figure has risen to 50 per cent.

Another new development is that the number of rough-sleepers in Nottingham has fallen from around 50 to 20, this year.

In March 2020, as part of the Government’s new Everyone In policy, local authorities were tasked with housing every rough sleeper in a hotel to keep them safe.

Cllr Woodings believes this has caused an “epiphany” among rough-sleepers, who now prefer to live indoors and are therefore more ready to make homeless applications.


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