More temporary housing needed to combat rising homelessness, council says

Homeless

North Norfolk District Council is to increase its emergency accommodation in response to rising levels of homelessness. - Credit: Yui Mok

An increase in emergency housing will help combat rising homelessness across north Norfolk, according to the local authority bosses. 

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) has announced that the amount of temporary accommodation will increase to 16 houses by the end of the year.

Last year, the council placed 171 households into emergency housing.

North Norfolk District Council is doing an IT upgrade, meaning its local search departmet is closed

Last year, NNDC placed 171 households into temporary accommodation. - Credit: Archant

Among the new properties, two were acquired through compulsory purchase orders as half-built, where developers had left them to stand empty and incomplete.

A property in Sheringham, currently used as storage, will be converted into emergency housing.

Wendy Fredericks, portfolio holder for housing and benefits, said: “Providing safe, quality temporary accommodation to households gives people a chance to rebuild their lives in a stable environment whilst a permanent housing solution can be found.

"Traditionally NNDC use bed and breakfast establishments, which are usually out of our area, away from schools and work opportunities.

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"The government pays only a fraction of the cost of bed and breakfast whilst NNDC and taxpayers have to fund the difference. Using housing reserves to invest in property and serve our residents also makes financial sense.”

Wendy Fredericks, Liberal Democrat candidate for Mundesley in the 2019 North Norfolk District Counci

Councillor Wendy Fredericks, portfolio holder for housing and benefits said that safe, quality temporary housing gives people a chance to rebuild their lives. - Credit: Wendy Fredericks

Some of the homes will be designated for people who are rough sleeping and in desperate need of shelter. The properties range from one to four bedrooms and can support sole occupants up to families.

The council has been successful in applying for government grants to support the costs of providing accommodation, through the Rough Sleepers Accommodation Programme.

In March, NNDC cabinet agreed to use £546,270 from its housing budget underspend to fund the purchase of further properties for temporary homes.

In October, a report to council's overview and scrutiny committee said the district has high levels of homelessness, which could rise further due to the end of the Universal Credit increase.

If you are in need of the council’s help, you can phone the housing team on 01263 516375, email housing@north-norfolk.gov.uk or visit www.north-norfolk.gov.uk

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