South Holland District Council offices.

South Holland seeing ‘huge’ rise in homelessness and Universal Credit claimants

South Holland is seeing a ‘huge demand’ in requests to help those facing being left without a home amid a more than 150 per cent increase in Universal Credit claimants.

The extent of homelessness in the area was provided by South Holland District Council’s Housing Services Manager Jason King to a joint meeting of the authority’s Performance Monitoring and Policy Development Panels.

He told councillors that the number of people claiming Universal Credit had risen to 7,278 people in October 2020, up from 2,891 in October 2019.

The number of those who were also seeking work had 1,150 increased to 2,590 in the same period.

Councillors were also given a snapshot of homelessness in the district using figures for the the first week of November/

In that week the council had 147 new approaches for assistance with homelessness and 11 households with nowhere to live who were classed as an emergency.

At that point there were 306 cases requesting homes pending.

In total there were 15 people known to be sleeping rough on that week.

On average in 2020 there’s been 44 households in interim accommodation with the average in other years being “generally 35 households” Mr King told the meeting.

The district council has so far this year paid for an average of 19 households a day to live in accommodation with the highest at any one point being 56.

“The difference this year is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr King said. “We have two requests from central government with one being the Everyone In Campaign and the Protect Programme which we’re currently dealing now. With the first we were required to pick up 29 additional households.”

Mr Smith outlined the Change4Lincs partnership thaty’s been set up with West Lindsey, South and North Kesteven District Councils which has been awarded £600k to reduce rough sleeping.

He said: “Homelessness has seen an incremental increase. We’re probably seeing 50 per cent more than we were at the same period last year.

He continued: “We’ve seen a significant uplift in the number of people seeking work and in the recipt of benefit. What that tells us is there’s a significant shift in people’s circumstances. What we see is a huge demand at the front end of homelessness.

“There’s a number of people contacting the authority, possibly for advice and assistance, not necessarily because they need a full homelessness application but that’s one of the points we respond to quickly so we can provide solutions before they turn into bigger problems.”

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