Home   Bury St Edmunds   News   Article

Subscribe Now

West Suffolk's numbers of rough sleepers more than double in five years

Rough sleeper (2283956)
Rough sleeper (2283956)

The number of rough sleepers in West Suffolk has increased by 263 per cent in the last five years.

Figures produced for the West Suffolk councils' review of their homelessness reduction policy state the numbers of people sleeping rough has risen from 11 in 2015 to 29 in 2017.

In addition, the level of rough sleepers per 1,000 head of population stands at 0.163 for West Suffolk compared to 0.086 for England.

The two councils are required by law to review their policy every five years, but changes in the law which became effective in April make this review even more important.

It will mean councils are now responsible for helping single people.

The changes also mean the definition of 'threatened with homelessness' is extended from 28 to 56 days so councils can start working to prevent it earlier.

The councils also have a higher duty to provide advice and prevent homelessness.

The figures show the number of homeless per 1000 people in West Suffolk has risen in five years from 0.91 to 1.36, compared to English levels of 094 and 1.06 respectively.

However, the numbers of cases where action has been taken to prevent homelessness have risen over the same period, with the number able to stay in the existing home more than double that in 2012.

The figures also show a massive drop in mortgage repossessions while landlord repossessions have dropped from a peak of almost 500 in 2013 to just under 300 in 2017.

But while the numbers in bed and breakfast dropped from 266 in 2013/14 to 155 in 2016/17, they rose again to 255 in 2017/18, though the percentage of homeless who are families with children is down from 60 per cent to 54 per cent over the same period.