A council has agreed to set aside £30,000 to pay for private rental deposits as a cheaper alternative to bed and breakfast accommodation.
The ruling cabinet of Stafford council in the Midlands has agreed a plan to help what it calls the “hidden homeless” who need a one bed property just as there is a shortage of council or social rented accommodation that fits the bill.
A proposal says it can cost over £10,000 to place a person in bed and breakfast accommodation for the average waiting time of seven months before a one-bed unit becomes available.
Instead, paying a £1,300 deposit towards a private rental apartment of the same size would be more cost effective; the typical rent in the area is some £525 pcm.
So £30,000 has been earmarked from the local authority’s Homelessness Prevention Grant - a central government grant.
The concept has been underway in the area for some time and Stafford's proposal, which you can see in detail here, states: “In the year 2019-2020, Stafford Borough Council’s Housing Options team assisted 59 people to access accommodation in the private sector; 28 were for homelessness prevention and 31 were homelessness relief. This compares to 161 people who were housed in social housing and 55 in supported housing.
“There are significant barriers for households with complex needs who cannot access social housing and have to wait in unsatisfactory accommodation whilst protracted and sometimes failed negotiations with landlords take place. This waiting can have an adverse effect on the client’s health and wellbeing, including mental wellbeing, and make rehousing more difficult.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has brought additional pressures on many households nationwide. A cohort of ‘hidden homeless’ were initially brought to the forefront of homeless service provision during the first lockdown; sofa surfers or those staying with family and friends in insecure accommodation who are at risk of rough sleeping.
“High levels of demand for rehousing due to relationship breakdown have continued throughout the past 12 months. In the near future, when the ban on evictions is fully lifted, a significant increase in homeless presentations is anticipated as a result of rent arrears, both from circumstances prior to the pandemic, but also stemming from Covid-related impacts such as job losses and reduced working hours.”
The private rental sector is unusually small in Stafford, accounting for only 10 per cent of the housing stock.
Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.