Significant problem in city
Exeter City Council has been given government funding to continue to address homelessness in the city.
Central government is stumping up £440,000 from its Next Steps Accommodation Programme in an attempt to end rough sleeping.
Some people argue that it's a party sum for a growing problem. Although evictions have been restricted since the lockdown in March, many cities, Exeter included, have an ongoing problem with homelessness. The government has committed just over £90 million, to be shared between 274 councils, to address the issue.
Since lockdown, in Exeter:
· 38 homeless people have moved to other housing options via friends/family, private rented, social housing and supported housing
· 22 have lost or abandoned emergency accommodation
· 42 remain in emergency covid accommodation
Exeter City Council says the funding will allow it and its partners to:
- Continue to provide accommodation until the end of March 2021 for the remaining 42 people accommodated under Covid and continue to reduce rough sleeping in the city
- Provide dedicated support for those accommodated in hotels
- Provide a Private Rented Deposit Scheme to support 13 people to access private rented accommodation, this will be match funded by Exeter City Council.
In a statement, the council says it has: "made a £3 million capital programme bid for the creation of thee units of new long term move-on accommodation with dedicated support to be delivered before the 31 March 2021. This is due to be announced by the end of the month and if successful will include an investment of over a £1million by ECC. The accommodation will be a mixture of self-contained properties, studio flats, en-suite rooms and smaller houses of multiple occupancy.
Council leader Phil Bialyk said: “In Exeter we are committed to seeing an end to rough sleeping. But this isn’t just for rough sleeping it’s for everyone who has lost accommodation during Covid and is an ambitious plan to tackle homelessness in a way not seen before.
“In Exeter we have a dedicated group of partners who are committed to tackling homelessness in the city: BCHA, Julian House, Access Health Care, Co-Lab Exeter, and St Petrocks. We are also a member of the Exeter Homelessness Partnership. With the support we have, we will continue to work towards ending rough sleeping and finding accommodation for those who need it.”