How are we helping residents at risk of homelessness
Due to the cost-of-living crisis, lack of affordable private rented sector accommodation in London and many households being impacted by the government’s benefit cap, homelessness is becoming more prevalent in these challenging times.
We are developing a local response to a national housing crisis. In July, Cabinet approved proposals around “Reshaping our Homelessness Support Offer”. This report emphasised a focus and investment to tackle the key issues causing homelessness and outlined earlier preventative measures. It covered three initiatives: firstly, a return of homelessness face-to-face appointments; secondly, our new Housing Sustainment Team; and, finally, a new housing advice offer for residents in the private rented sector.
- Return of face-to-face appointments – since the pandemic all homeless assessments have taken place online or over the phone. Although this approach provided several benefits, Cabinet agreed that face-to-face appointments are important for residents in immediate crisis or with accessibility issues. This service will run on an appointment only basis and there will be NO walk-in or self-referrals.
- Our new Housing Sustainment Team will identify and work with households at risk of homelessness before they reach a point of crisis. The team’s focus will be on families within the private rented sector, particularly those who are impacted by the government’s benefit cap. The team will provide advice and assistance across a wide range of issues including benefits, employment, and health that enables them to sustain their tenancies’. The new team will work closely with other council departments to identify and reach out to those most in need.
We work hard to ensure that anyone who approaches us at risk of becoming homeless has a roof over their head while we work to help them find a suitable solution in settled accommodation. We appreciate how stressful the situation can be for anyone in this position. Local demand for housing is increasing, and the supply of affordable properties is limited. We know the only way out of the housing crisis is to build more family homes for social rent and while we have one of the best records for delivering more of these properties, we know there is more to be done.