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Council bosses warn Sandwell homeless levels will rise

By Jamie Brassington | Sandwell | News | Published:

Homeless levels will rise in Sandwell due to a shortage of homes, council bosses have warned.

Sandwell Council House, where the cabinet will discuss the issue in the borough next week

Sandwell has more homeless people than the national average - with numbers set to rise further, a report has concluded.

The verdict was set out in a Sandwell Council report, produced after the local authority carried out a statutory five year review into homelessness in November.

The report, which will be discussed by council bosses next week, said: "Despite the overall plateauing in homeless trends within the last three years, future levels of homelessness are likely to increase based on the socio-economic profile of the borough set against a backdrop of significant and growing housing market pressures.

"Current levels of statutory homelessness in Sandwell exceed national rates."

Council cabinet members will discuss the findings on Wednesday (18) where they will set out plans on how to tackle the issue.

The report reveals large families are having to use bed and breakfast accommodation due to a 'general lack of suitable accommodation for larger households,' the report said.

However, the number of families in B&B's fell by 12 from 42 in 2015/16 to 30 in 2016/17.

A homeless study conducted during November found ten people on average were sleeping rough in the borough.

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This worked out to one person for every 10,000 households, which is below the national figure of 0.18 outside of London.

Sandwell Council leader Steve Eling said homelessness is rising in Sandwell but that is happening around the country.

He said: "The report is about new legislation and placing new duties on local authorities around homelessness and preventing people becoming homeless in the first place.

"The number of people presented as homeless has increased not just in Sandwell but as a national problem.

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"It is a reflection of a national housing crisis. The fact is we have got new houses being built in Sandwell. I think we are doing quite well compared to other places.

"The issue is we have not got enough resources to deliver more housing.

"We need the support and resources for dealing with contaminated land, bringing former industrial sites into use for housing.

"It is a tough challenge but we are up for it - not like some local authorities like London boroughs who are exporting homeless people around the country including to Sandwell.

"We deal with homeless people in Sandwell and provide rented housing. The key message is we are up for the challenge."

Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Senior Multi-Media Journalist - @JamieB_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star. Contact me at jamie.brassington@expressandstar.co.uk.

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