Hundreds of residents forced to seek help

A homeless family at Christmas
A homeless family at Christmas

NEARLY 400 borough residents were forced to seek help after losing their homes, new figures have revealed.

The figures for April 2014 to March 2015 were released by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Of those 3,894 households, the council had a statutory duty to provide accommodation for 175 of them with the remainder given advice and help on the other services and referred to other agencies within the borough such as Wigan Housing Solutions.

The figures also show that of those that were provided accommodation by the council, either temporarily or permanently, 113 households were white, 10 were of ethnic origin and 53 were unknown.

The local authority also confirmed that it had placed 214 households in temporary accommodation during the 2014/15 financial year, 141 of which were single homeless people.

Peter Layland, assistant director for housing, said: “We have prevented 2,736 cases of homelessness due to the wide range of prevention tools Housing Options staff have access to. The council continues to invest in early intervention and prevention services for example our No Second Night Out, Multiple Needs Accommodation project, bond scheme access into the private rented sector.

“This year our rough sleeper estimate figure has reduced to three from seven in 2014 and 13 in 2013. We have recently been awarded with a gold standard award for the work we do to prevent homelessness and we are only the second council in the country to achieve this.”

The number of households presenting to the council as homeless has reduced dramatically since the 2013/14 and 2012/13 financial years when 539 and 614 were assessed by the council respectively. Of those, the council had a duty to house 183 in 2013/14 and 219 in 2012/13. And in the last decade, the number of households seeking local authority help has also dropped markedly. In 2004/5, the council made 2,891 decisions about whether they had a statutory duty to help a homeless household. They provided temporary or permanent accommodation to 1,445.