Rough sleeping in England has sadly increased for the seventh consecutive year, official figures show, and now New Forest District Council (NFDC) is calling for greater support from private sector landlords, as part of its efforts to reduce homelessness.
NFDC wants private landlords to work with them by joining the ‘Private Sector Lease Scheme’ as part of its work under the Homelessness Reduction Act.
Across the district there are already 117 properties in the scheme, but the council hopes to attract significantly more private rented homes with a view to renting them to vulnerable people who need accommodation in the district.
Cllr Jill Cleary, NFDC portfolio holder for housing, said: “Becoming homeless is a devastating thing to happen. And it is not just the stereotype of rough-sleepers this national issue affects; losing your home could happen to anyone, often through no fault of their own.
“We work to help anyone who doesn’t have a roof over their head.”
Cllr Cleary believes that the scheme has benefits for landlords as well as people who need accommodation.
Landlords who join the scheme receive a fixed term lease over a number of years and guaranteed monthly rental income for the whole of the lease period, including any times when the property is vacant, while all repairs are carried out by the council’s maintenance team.
Cllr Cleary added: “We are working hard to meet the requirements of the new Homelessness Reduction Act head-on and in its first few months helped 63 households who were facing the imminent loss of their homes to secure alternative accommodation and avoid homelessness. But we can’t do this alone.
“We need more properties and believe what we offer landlords who join the private sector lease scheme is hassle-free with many mutual benefits.”