Hundreds say they are at risk of homelessness in East Devon

PUBLISHED: 14:40 12 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:40 12 March 2019

Blackdown House, EDDC's new Honiton HQ. Picture: Callum Lawton

Blackdown House, EDDC's new Honiton HQ. Picture: Callum Lawton

Archant

More than a quarter of people of the nearly 4,000 residents on the social housing list in East Devon have said they're under threat of losing their home.

Nearly half of people also said that their health and wellbeing is being made worse by their current home.

A report to the East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) cabinet said the number of people on list was the highest in Devon.

It stated that around 1,700 people on the list had a housing need, according to its assessments.

The figures were revealed as a new Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy was adopted by the cabinet.

Over one third of 16 to 24-year-olds said they were also at risk, with a total of 7.8 per cent of people saying they needed to escape violence or harassment. Another 5.9 per cent of people said that they had to move because their current home is in very poor condition.

The report stated the high cost to privately rent and lack of affordable housing made it difficult to afford to live.

Councillor Jill Elson, who is responsible for sustainable homes and communities, said: “Many people may suddenly become homeless or find themselves redundant and without any income coming in, or get themselves into debt, or have no roof over the head. Some young people suddenly get told people don’t they want them to live under their roof anymore. I hear from 18-year-olds who say their parent has got a new partner so there is no room for me.”

Four key priorities have been identified in the new strategy. They are: maximise prevention activities and outcomes, increase accommodation options, minimise rough sleeping and improve health and wellbeing.

The number of rough sleepers in East Devon has been kept at a low level, between four and eight a week but the levels of rough sleeping increase significantly in the summer months.

The new homelessness strategy will be a live document and will evolve to reflect and respond to change as require, with an action plan to implement the strategy.

A working group will be made up of service users, council staff, councillors and colleagues from other organisations and agencies in order to co-ordinate and report on progress against the agreed actions over the period of the strategy.

The council also agreed to work with Devon County Council and agree the themes for a localised investigation and analysis of poverty and related social welfare issues, and report back on the findings.

It comes after a motion was agreed by full council in December that called for the council to receive a report on the potential impacts on residents in East Devon and the need for further support, for example in supporting the roll-out of Universal Credit, homelessness prevention or for local food banks.

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