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Homelessness in Sheffield is down by '60 per cent in last five years' say council

Homelessness has fallen by 60 per cent in five years, according to new data published by Sheffield Council
Homelessness has fallen by 60 per cent in five years, according to new data published by Sheffield Council
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Sheffield Council has said homelessness in the city has plummeted by 60 per cent over the last five years.

New data released by the local authority shows 4,740 households made a homeless application to the council in 2012 but this fell to 1,297 by the end of 2016.

But council chiefs are said to be concerned as recent data shows a four per cent rise in homelessness referrals in recent years.

In 2015, the number of households that made a homeless application fell to as low as 1,173 but this rose by 124 in 2016.

Figures show Sheffield had the highest proportion of homeless out of the UK's core cities in 2012 - with 5.3 people without a home per 1,000 - second only to Birmingham.

But recent figures put Sheffield fifth with 1.9 people per thousand without a home behind Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham.

For the first time in 2016, one per cent of all homeless referrals to Sheffield Council were people over the age of 75. People aged between 25-44 make up 60 per cent of all cases - the highest proportion.

Concerns have been raised however as Sheffield 'still has a disproportionately high percentage of single people/households without children' being accepted as homeless. The national figure is 28 per cent and the Sheffield figure is 48 per cent.

The council has outlined a 'vision' which aims to 'minimise homelessness' by focusing on 'early prevention to help people keep their home' in a five year plan to be present at a meeting next week.

Council bosses said they want to provide 'good quality housing' and 'support to people' in resolving their housing problems.

Report author Suzanne Allen, executive director of Place on Sheffield Council said: "The overall level of recorded homelessness in Sheffield has reduced by nearly 60 per cent against a backdrop of big increases nationally since then.

"However, there was a four per cent rise in the number of households accepted as homeless by the Council in 2016/17 and we must prioritise the right actions to address the real risk of further increases.

"Significant changes have affected the housing options and support available including cuts to welfare benefits and severe reductions in public sector budgets.

"There is a continuing shortage of affordable housing and a big increase in the number of private sector tenancies which have less security of tenure than social and owner occupied housing."