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Hundreds classed as homeless in Wolverhampton

By Richard Guttridge | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

More than 600 people in Wolverhampton were classed as homeless over a 12-month period - with 1,000 more at risk of being on the streets.

Hundreds are at risk of homelessness in Wolverhampton (stock image)

Some 610 people in the city were owed a homelessness relief duty, support a local authority is required to provide the homeless, during 2018/19, Government figures have shown.

A further 1,004 households were issued with eviction notices during the same period.

It has previously been claimed Wolverhampton does not have a major problem with homelessness due to the relatively low numbers sleeping rough, but the figures suggest there are hundreds on the brink.

Housing charity Shelter said many people's struggles go unseen and that "hidden homelessness" was a big problem.

Local authorities are required to take reasonable steps to support those who have become homeless, such as helping them find temporary accommodation or providing a rent deposit.

Wolverhampton Council said the issue was "not exclusive" to the city and that it formed "part of a wider national picture where people’s wages are not keeping pace with the rising cost of living".

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “During a year where Brexit negotiations have dominated the political agenda, hundreds of people have become homeless in the West Midlands, hidden away in inadequate temporary and emergency accommodation.

“While housing is out of the spotlight, cripplingly expensive private rents, frozen housing benefits, and lengthy waiting lists for social homes are pushing homeless families to the sharp edge of the housing emergency – which won’t go away without genuinely affordable homes.  

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“The government must invest in a new generation of social homes – 3 million more in 20 years – if they are to pull hundreds of thousands of people across the country out of homelessness. And in the meantime, they must urgently increase housing benefit so that it covers at least the bottom third of private rents.”    

Leyla Abbes, a campaigner for Wolverhampton Liberal Democrats, said: “This appalling spike in the number of people forced into homelessness is a disaster for every single person. The worry, stress and helplessness of being in that situation is utterly horrible and in 2019 no-one should have to go through it. What is shocking is the fact so many families are working full-time."

A Wolverhampton Council spokesman said: “This issue is not exclusive to Wolverhampton and is part of a wider national picture where people’s wages are not keeping pace with the rising cost of living.

“To help people who fall into difficulties and are in danger of losing their home we have a robust safety net to support them back into affordable accommodation through our homeless prevention service.

“The council is also, year on year, ensuring an increase in the delivery of affordable housing in the city to make securing a home more accessible for all.”

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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