Number of homeless people in Sheffield has risen during the pandemic

Council bosses say there has been a rise in people unable to stay in their current accommodation but housing staff shortages and lockdowns have added to the problem.

Thursday, 18th February 2021, 2:13 pm

The majority of people who apply as homeless stay in their current accommodation but if that isn’t possible, they can be offered temporary accommodation.

The council expects the number of homeless cases to be 600 at the end of 2020/21 compared to 484 at the end of 2019/20.

Zoe Young, a housing manager with Sheffield Council, says in a report: “Being asked to leave by friends and family is still the top reason for homelessness and in the current climate it is more difficult for people to continue to stay in these situations pending a planned move.

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Stock picture of a homeless rough sleeper. Picture: Marie Cashill

“The number of cases where people are homeless due to domestic abuse has increased.

“And the number of people who had left an institution – mainly prison – with no accommodation arranged increased.”

Applications from single people have increased from 71 per cent to 75 per cent but there has been a fall in cases where people are homeless because a private tenancy has ended – probably because of the temporary ban on evictions.

The number of temporary placements, excluding B&Bs, made between March and December 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, increased from 284 to 389 households.

The report adds: “As well as an increase in the number of cases, the capacity to undertake prevention work has been limited due to the reduction in available staff and restrictions on work practices in response to the lockdown.

“We are required to work with people for up to 56 days before to prevent homelessness and 56 days after homelessness occurs before we decide whether to accept a housing duty.

“The number of cases that remain open for this period have increased from the usual 700 to currently more than 1,000.”

Councillors will discuss the report next week.

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