City Council to increase number of staff on homelessness prevention team

By Emily Rooney

An increase in families needing the help of Leicester’s homelessness prevention team has been attributed to benefit changes and high private rents.

The recent increase in demand for Leicester City Council’s homelessness prevention services has prompted the council to hire new staff, BBC Radio Leicester revealed this morning.

The team prevented 4000 households, mostly families, from becoming homeless last year.

In the Council’s Homelessness Strategy 2018-2023 report, Councillor Andy Connelly (Assistant City Mayor- Housing) said “We and our partners have made progress in improving homelessness prevention, and for those where homelessness is not prevented provide quality services.”

As well as the Council’s budget falling, on a like for like basis, from £358 million in 2010/11 to £294 million for 2019/20, spending on social care has increased, so spending on all other Council services will fall from £192 million to, around £102 million.

Despite these huge budget cuts, the Homelessness Strategy report says: “At the time of writing this strategy the council has invested approximately £5.6 million a year in housing-related services for people who are homeless and threatened with homelessness.”

As well as this, Councillor Connelly said of the work of the homelessness prevention team: “This has been achieved in a context of reduced funding and increasing numbers of people seeking assistance when they are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“However, we know that we can still do more and this strategy sets out the actions we will take to help prevent even more people from becoming homeless and increase the support for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.”

A homelessness review was carried out in the city in 2017, which consulted with local people and people involved in delivering services for homeless and at risk people, and it found that while homelessness preventions have increased, access to support and information could be improved, and home ownership and rental is an increasing issue due to rents rising faster than inflation.