An intensive programme of work to help 120 of the most vulnerable homeless people across Lincolnshire has been launched.
The county-wide partnership ACTion Lincs has been set up to provide “life-changing support and tackle some of the most complex homelessness cases in Lincolnshire”, says a South Holland County Council spokesperson.
ACTion Lincs pools nine district councils, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, addiction charity Addaction and homeless charity P3.
It was created following a successful bid for money from Central Government’s Social Impact Bond. ACTion Lincs was awarded £1.3m.
Louise Owen-McGee from P3 said the 120 people is a prediction of how many people will use the service over the four-year duration, based on past and current needs.
In South Holland, there have been 58 “homeless applications (decision)” since April this year.
A district council spokesperson explained: “This is the number of decisions we have made following homeless applications.
“Anyone can present themselves as homeless, we then have to make a decision as to whether they are officially homeless.”
In 2015/16, the final total deemed homeless was 107 people. In 2013/14 it was 97 and 86 the year before.
Councillor Christine Lawton, South Holland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, said of Action Lincs: “I really welcome this four-year programme to tackle the scourge of rough sleeping.
“By working cooperatively across the county we can offer more comprehensive help to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”
Last year, South Holland District Council logged 522 “homeless preventions”. These are the number of times the council helped prvent someone from becoming homeless. This can be through finding them private accomodation.
Homeless charity Shelter says the freeze on all working age benefits, including Local Housing Allowance rates, is contributing to rising homelessness figures.
“Since 2010 housing benefit levels have not risen in line with rising private rents, and current freeze means that they will remain frozen at their 2016 levels until 2020,” said a Shelter report on homelessness.
“Unfortunately, homelessness can all too often be the outcome for those who cannot keep up with their rent, or those who cannot find somewhere to live on their limited budget. The loss of private tenancy is now the leading cause of homelessness in England,” claims the report.
Shelter added: “A small family with one or two children living in a modest two bedroom home must stump up an extra £100 a month or more to make up the shortfall in their rent.”