Helping the homeless saves money

Coun Christine Lawton ANL-140618-120437001
Coun Christine Lawton ANL-140618-120437001

A weekly column written by members of South Holland District Council. This week with Christine Lawton, portfolio holder for housing landlord

Helping the homeless is one of many roles carried out by South Holland District Council’s housing team.

In the last 12 months we have prevented 777 instances of homelessness from a range of backgrounds

Last week the Spalding Guardian highlighted their dedicated work along with Framework’s Street Outreach Team in getting a Latvian man found sleeping rough back to his native country.

The informative piece explained how the costs of providing bed and breakfast accommodation for a night and flying the man home are tiny compared to possible long­-term costs to the council, health service and police had he stayed here.

Our housing department received over 80 homeless applications last year and many of these were from people threatened with it, so our challenge is to take preventative action.

In the last 12 months we prevented 777 instances of homelessness – including single people and families from a range of backgrounds.

During 2013/14 we dealt with 2,000 approaches for advice – as you can see our housing department is a very busy one!

We provide advice on housing rights, overcoming debt issues, maximising income and accessing emergency finance.

We also offer help and support to families who have separated and if domestic abuse is involved, work closely with the local Outreach service to make vulnerable people safe.

So where does rough sleeping fit into the picture? Rough sleepers often have a range of needs other than access to shelter.

We work closely with the Framework Rough Sleeper Outreach Service whose team visits locations where rough sleepers have been spotted.

They help people sleeping rough to access the right services as well as seeking out emergency accommodation options in the UK, if they are British, or in their native country.

* On a separate note, it’s coming to that time when annual council tax bills begin arriving in the post.

If you are struggling to pay your council tax you can sign up to our ‘12 not 10’ campaign which offers residents the option of spreading their council tax instalments over 12 months, rather than 10.

For more information about ’12 not 10’ and ways to pay your council tax visit www.sholland.gov.uk