Cumbria Crack

Council helps prevent homelessness

Mike Starkie

[C]OPELAND Council’s Housing team prevented 182 households from becoming homeless in the last year, new figures reveal.

In 2017/18, the council’s homeless service has continued to work with individuals, families, support agencies and landlords to prevent people from having to leave their homes.

The council works with many different groups, individuals and partners in a variety of ways because the causes of homelessness are so wide-ranging. One of the main reasons for under-24s becoming homeless is being asked to leave the family home by parents who can no longer cope, so the council mediates with the parents, offering specialist support. It also encourages parents to allow young people at risk of becoming homeless to stay at home whilst back-up support is given to help them all to work on the relationship breakdown.

Another reason for potential homelessness is that people are facing eviction and so the council works with landlords to negotiate tenancy breaches, such as high levels of rent arrears, and to put payment plans in place.

It also assists people to access the practical help and support they need to manage their tenancies better, for example, debt management.

If the council cannot prevent someone becoming homeless, it helps people with choice-based lettings for social housing and matches people in need of accommodation with private sector landlords and helps them with rent deposits

Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, said: “We pride ourselves on our homeless prevention work, putting measures in place wherever we can to prevent people becoming homeless.

“The most common causes of people facing the loss of a home include relationship breakdown, debt and behavioural factors.

“We focus on trying to help people resolve the causes of homelessness so that they do not find themselves in the same situation again.

“We do this by working with external agencies and specialist providers to get people the right advice and support, so if you are concerned and need help, contact us on 01946 598300.”

The end-of-year figures also reveal that Copeland Council has given grants to 130 households in 2017/18 for adaptions to their homes to make them more accessible to those with mobility restrictions and disabilities. The most frequently-requested adaptions are for stairlifts and adapted showers.

Mr Starkie added: “This work is vital for the health and safety of our most vulnerable residents and ensures they can remain in their own homes.”

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