More than a thousand people on Sheffield Council housing waiting list during first lockdown
Only a few tenants were able to move into council properties in Sheffield during the first lockdown - leaving more than a thousand waiting during that time.
Eleanor Rutter, consultant in public health, said in a report: “Studies show that living in a damp, overcrowded or otherwise unhealthy home has long term effects right from early childhood.
“These effects will have been exacerbated during lockdown, especially if there was no escape to an outdoor space.
“During this period it was necessary for some people to move home. Some wanted to return to their families at the start of lockdown from shared housing or student accommodation and many were able to do this but for others a move was not possible.
“For those people wanting to bid on council properties, the Choice Based Lettings system was suspended at the start of lockdown.
“Only 41 households were able to move into council properties during this period, when well over a thousand similar lets would normally have taken place.”
Ms Rutter said victims of domestic violence suffered badly.
“Some people required re-housing over this period to escape violence in the home,” she said.
“There has been a large increase in people accessing information on how to take these steps since lockdown.
“There was limited access to suitable accommodation meaning when people have reached a decision that leaving an abusive situation is their best option it is very hard to find them somewhere suitable to move to. Limited options may mean people return to abusers.”
The lockdown did enable the council to reach out to more homeless people though.
“At the start of lockdown, all local authorities were instructed to provide emergency accommodation to rough sleepers and Sheffield Council, with our partners, mobilised quickly to provide effective wraparound support.
“The emergency accommodation provided a unique opportunity to engage with rough sleepers with increased intensity.”
The council says during this lockdown it has continued to advertise properties and make offers of accommodation but the process may be taking longer.
In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper.