More than 350 Luton households at risk of homelessness last winter

More than 350 households in Luton were assessed as either homeless or at risk homelessness last winter, figures show.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 8:37 pm
Updated Monday, 26th April 2021, 8:40 pm
More than 350 Luton families were assessed as homeless or at risk of homelessness last winter
More than 350 Luton families were assessed as homeless or at risk of homelessness last winter

More than 350 households in Luton were assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness last winter, figures show.

Nationally, the number of people identified as homeless has risen slightly, as Shelter says there is a clear danger of the problem worsening further when pandemic measures are lifted.

But a national decrease in the threat of homelessness came as the Government and local authorities sought to ensure as many people as possible had roofs over their heads during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Between October and December last year, 292 families or individuals in Luton were identified as homeless by the council, up from 248 the year before, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government figures show.

A further 64 households were eligible for council help as they were at risk of homelessness in winter 2020 - down from 168 in 2019.

Pandemic measures including the Everyone In scheme – which saw local authorities work to provide emergency accommodation to as many people in need as possible – a restriction on evictions and lengthened notice periods for landlords contributed to significant changes to England’s statutory homelessness levels, according to the MHCLG.

Their latest figures show that 33,990 households were identified as homeless last winter across England, a rise of 0.5% compared to the same period in 2019.

But 28,270 families or individuals were deemed at risk of homelessness, a drop of 18.5%.

As lockdown measures took hold, the Everyone In campaign contributed to a national rise of 8% in households living in temporary accommodation between winter 2019 to the same period last year.

There were 1,185 households in temporary accommodation in Luton on December 31 2020 – 29 fewer than the year before and including 1,992 children – while at the same time, the council assessed at least seven individuals or families as sleeping rough in the area.

Local Government Association chairman James Jamieson said councils were determined to build on the success of Everyone In.

He added: “It is vital we draw on lessons learned during the pandemic and ensure this is not just a one-off emergency response.”

Private sector eviction restrictions led to a drop of almost half in the number of households threatened with homelessness via the serving of a Section 21 notice, which landlords must issue before ending tenancies.

There were fewer households in Luton facing that threat last winter compared to the previous year – from 27 in 2019 to six.

Shelter’s chief executive Polly Neate said: “The economic impact of the pandemic has exposed the true cost of decades of failure to build the social homes we need.

“More than 60,000 households were tipped into homelessness last winter – even with the evictions ban.

“In just over a month the ban on evictions is going to lift, and even more struggling families could be faced with the same fate.”