Housing team steps up during lockdown

Housing officers at South Kesteven District Council are working to help those found temporary accommodation during the Coronavirus lockdown move into more permanent homes.

During lockdown SKDC housed 51 individuals and families under the Government's Everyone In scheme. Four council properties were adapted into houses of multiple occupation to provide emergency accommodation, which remain in use.

There has been a 27% increase in people approaching the council for housing advice, support and assistance during lockdown compared with the same period last year, and a 47% increase in the number of people provided with temporary accommodation.

The Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Robert Reid, said: "We aim to help secure alternative housing, where possible, for all those still in our accommodation as a result of the Everyone In initiative - irrespective of whether they are eligible under legislation for our assistance.

"We see this as an opportunity to put a stop to some of the long-standing cycles of rough sleeping/sofa-surfing for individuals through support and assistance."

Those provided with temporary accommodation were each allocated a case officer and had a personal housing plan drawn up. Reviews of all cases were undertaken, which included looking at why they could not find accommodation.

"We are determined to do all we can to help them find more permanent homes," said Cllr Reid.

The housing team has contacted local landlords and estate agents and is now matching available properties with possible tenants.

Earlier this month the Government extended the suspension of evictions from social or private rented accommodation by two months until August 23, offering greater protection to tenants.

"Extending the embargo gives us a greater opportunity to work with individuals and their landlords, and support them to live independently moving forwards," said Cllr Reid.

"We are able to assist anyone who may be at risk of becoming homeless once the embargo on evictions is lifted and want people to be in a position to sustain their tenancies and accommodation."

Anyone in a private tenancy/property who is at risk of homelessness is regularly contacted by their allocated case officer, as is their landlord when appropriate, to help prevent people losing their homes.

Homeless prevention officers, along with the council's income support team, have:

• Provided help, advice and links into other support services for tenants and their families facing possible eviction once the embargo ends

• Contacted those in supported accommodation who face having to move on, and worked with external partners to secure independent living arrangements for them

• Retained a house of multiple occupation to provide six-month tenancies for those needing additional support, with a view to then helping them into independent living

Cllr Reid said: "Protecting vulnerable people during the pandemic has been a priority for SKDC and our aim is for that to continue as we emerge from lockdown. We will do all we can to ensure that everyone will have the option of a roof over their heads."

SKDC is currently working with 193 individuals or families who need our help/advice/support in securing alternative housing.

The SKDC Housing team 2020:

Housing team 2020