Four out of five homeless or at risk households in Doncaster had other support needs

Four out of five Doncaster households deemed homeless or at risk last winter had other support needs, figures show.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 10:07 am

Doncaster Borough Council found over 300 of the 383 families or individuals assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness between October and December last year needed additional assistance – most commonly for mental illness.

Of those households, 179 had more than three support needs identified.

Across England, more than 62,000 households were found eligible for statutory homelessness support – and more than half of them also required help in other areas.

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Housing charity Crisis said pandemic measures had not done enough to protect those with multiple needs as Government figures show disabled people, abuse victims, care leavers and veterans were among those without a stable roof over their heads.

At 80 per cent, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government figures show that the percentage of homeless or at risk households in Doncaster last winter with one or more support needs was up from 75 per cent in the same period of 2019.

Nationally, the proportion increased from 48 per cent to 51 per cent.

While there was a slight rise in homelessness overall, pandemic measures introduced by the Government and local authorities contributed to a drop in the number of households threatened with homelessness.

Crisis chief executive Jon Sparkes said preventative policies meant fewer people had lost their homes but added: "As these figures also make clear, the action taken over the last year has not been enough to support people with multiple needs from the trauma of homelessness.

"Whether fleeing an abusive partner or experiencing mental health issues, the pandemic has made many people's living situations impossible and reduced their options."

More than 15,000 households assessed across England last winter were classed as having extra support needs because of mental illness, with physical disabilities and domestic abuse the next most common reasons for requiring more assistance.

Doncaster council found 192 households needed support linked to mental illness, 111 because of physical needs or disabilities and 88 due to domestic abuse.

An MHCLG spokesman said that the Homelessness Reduction Act allowed councils to refer people to additional support services where necessary and said many of those in need of support are treated as a priority for homelessness assistance.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.