Doncaster homeless services now 'overwhelmed' despite 500 people and families being housed when Covid-19 hit
Over 500 Doncaster individuals and families sleeping rough were housed under a Government scheme when the Covid-19 lockdown first hit but services are now ‘overwhelmed’, a report has said.
The demand in tackling homelessness in Doncaster has ‘risen dramatically’ as council bosses are under more pressure to house rough sleepers due to changes in legislation under the Homelessness Reduction Act, which placed additional duties on councils.
Housing bosses added the demand was ‘further exacerbated by the impact of the pandemic and the Government’s ‘Everyone In’ directive.
Figures show that there were 200 households that were put into temporary accommodation such as hotels and B&Bs in 2018/2019 but this increased dramatically to 942 during 2020/2021.
In a breakdown of that year, 942 individuals and households were placed in either emergency or interim accommodation and only 399 of those were owed a statutory temporary accommodation duty. The remaining 543 placements were made under the ‘Everyone In’ programme.
More analysis shows the majority of the 942 were single males at 699, while there were 334 single females and 233 families with dependent children.
The biggest reason people in this group came in contact with the council was being thrown out by a family or friend, the second biggest reason was domestic abuse and fleeing violence, sleeping rough and relationship breakdowns.
Dave Richmond, chief executive of St Leger Homes, said: “The duties to households that are homeless and at risk of homelessness are set out in the Housing Act 1996. This includes a duty to provide temporary accommodation to certain prescribed groups, namely those with dependent children or those deemed vulnerable.
“We’ve experienced increasing demand for temporary accommodation. Firstly, this is because of the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act, which placed additional duties on the local authority.
“Secondly, this is because of the pandemic and Government’s ‘Everyone In’ programme which required local authorities to accommodate all rough sleepers including individuals who would not normally be owed a duty.
“The system is currently overwhelmed due to the twofold increase in approaches. Increases for statutory cases have been seen across all reasons for homelessness with particular spikes for reasons typically associated with rough sleeping and complex lives.”