Homelessness support stepped up in Mansfield as pandemic causes rise in cases
Support for people at risk of homelessness has been stepped up in Mansfield due to a rise in cases.
Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities figures show 222 households in Mansfield sought council support after becoming homeless between April 2020 and October 2021, including 92 households with children.
Osama Bhutta, director of campaigns at housing charity Shelter, said the pandemic has been ‘atrocious’ for struggling families even with protections like the eviction ban and the £20 Universal Credit uplift.
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Bailiff-enforced evictions were banned for a large part of the pandemic – a measure introduced by the Government to prevent renters from being made homeless – though the ban was lifted in England on May 31.
From July-September 2021, after the ban was lifted, 39 households in Mansfield needed help because they were homeless over this time, up from 37 during the same period in 2020.
Coun Marion Bradshaw, Mansfield Council portfolio holder for safer communities, housing and wellbeing, said: “Mansfield has been trying to reduce and prevent homelessness over recent years.
“The number of people sleeping on the street remains low, largely thanks to our First Steps project, which helps rough sleepers with complex issues around mental health, addiction and substance abuse. We are now working towards ensuring the funding for that scheme can continue.
“From April 2021 to September 2021, the council's homeless team dealt with 617 cases, ranging from those simply wanting advice to those homeless that night.
“Of those cases, 435 were closed after appropriate advice to prevent homelessness and 52 saw officers secure temporary accommodation for people already homeless or in immediate danger of becoming so.
“We knew ending the government's ban on landlords evicting tenants during the pandemic would create more homelessness cases.
“This was indeed the case, with 41 between April and September involving private sector landlords issuing a section 21 eviction notice, 26 because they wanted to sell the property and 16 because the tenant had rent arrears.
“The council supports a service – Call B4 You Serve – which helps mediate between private landlords and tenants to prevent evictions.
“Other significant causes for homelessness have been where families evicted their children (26), relationship breakdown (24) and domestic abuse (18).
“We are looking at ways to support families who want to evict their children to try to bring this number down and also work closely with Nottinghamshire Council social services to help prevent families becoming homeless in Mansfield.
“We have a team of officers to help anyone in danger of losing their home due to rent arrears who can help them with benefit claims and signpost them to food clubs and affordable warmth advice. We always encourage people to seek help sooner rather than later if they have financial concerns.”
Visit mansfield.gov.uk/housing for support for those facing homelessness or call 01623 463463.
If you see anyone sleeping rough in the district, contact Framework’s Street Outreach hotline on 0800 066 5356, or via streetlink.org.uk to ensure they are offered the necessary support.
Visit mansfieldstreetsupport.co.uk to find out how best to help rough sleepers in a long-term,sustainable way. It is more beneficial to donate money, non-perishable food or warm clothing to an existing organisation.