Content last reviewed: November 2014
The Homelessness Review 2014 has set out a picture of homelessness in Central Bedfordshire. The review has considered the national legislative and policy context as well as national homelessness trends. A snapshot of the local housing picture and analysis of the policy context has been included as has an examination of demand for Central Bedfordshire Council’s housing options and homelessness services. Priority groups have been identified and some of the services identified through desktop research to support these groups and prevent and relieve homelessness have been set out in this review.
The review has identified that since the current Homelessness Strategy was developed in 2010 there have been new opportunities to develop and improve services and challenges that have had an impact on demand and provision of services.
The changes to demand since the development of the current Homelessness Strategy include:
- Demand for housing options advice and assistance has. has fluctuated greatly with a peak in 2012/13 of 2,373.
- An 8% increase in housing register applications over three years to 2013-14.
- A 42% increase in homeless declarations between 2011-12 and 2013-14.
- The total number of homelessness decisions has decreased by 16% since 2010-11.
- There has been a steady decrease in those not accepted because they were not homeless. This indicates that pro-active advice on eligibility has led to more realistic expectations of the homelessness application process since 2010.
- The number of households accepted as homeless has reduced slightly in the four years to 124 households in 2013-14.
- There has been a 55% increase in the use of temporary accommodation since 2010-11.
The profile of those accepted as homeless in 2013-14 was as follows:
- The largest priority group for homeless acceptances in 2013-14 were lone females with dependent children at 40%. Other significant groups include couples with dependents at 12% and single women at 10%.
- More than half (57%) of homeless acceptances in 2013-14 were from people aged 18-34.
- Nearly a third (31%) of homeless acceptances in 2013-14 resulted because family or friends were not willing to accommodate them.
New opportunities have arisen or been created since the development of the last Strategy; this includes:
- Introduction of the Localism Act 2011power to discharge the homelessness duty to the private sector without the applicant’s consent.
- Bringing housing options services in the north in-house and merging with services in the south of Central Bedfordshire. In the past the different ways of processing housing applications between the north and south have caused difficulties, particularly for women’s refuge services.
- Improved working relationships between Central Bedfordshire Council’s (CBC’s) Housing Service, Children’s Services and Adult Social Care as the new local authority established in 2009 has developed.
Challenges which have had an impact on housing options and homelessness services include:
- the impact of the economic downturn on residents
- the impact of welfare reform on residents
- impact of the Government Spending Review on local authorities and the organisations they fund
- Lack of security in the private sector and rising private rents
- The 16-64 year old Central Bedfordshire population continues to grow and is expected to increase 6.5% to 176,200 in 2021.
The review was circulated to a wide range of stakeholders with a survey to obtain feedback on the review. Engagement events were also held with external stakeholders and Central Bedfordshire Council colleagues in October 2014 to gather views on the effectiveness of homelessness service provision within Central Bedfordshire and to identify priorities for the future.
Last updated Thursday, 20th April 2017