Fears of homelessness in Wigan rise

Nearly 550 Wigan households were assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness last winter, figures show.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 10:57 am
At least 19 people or families were sleeping rough even when beds were on offer

Nationally, the number of people identified as homeless has risen slightly, as Shelter says there is a danger of the problem worsening further when pandemic measures are lifted.

But a national decrease in the threat of homelessness came as the Government and councils sought to ensure as many people as possible had roofs over their heads during the pandemic.

Between October and December last year, 375 families or individuals in Wigan were identified as homeless by the council, up from 190 the year before, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government figures reveal. A further 123 households were eligible for local authority help as they were at risk of homelessness in winter 2020 – up from 113 in 2019.

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Pandemic measures including the Everyone In scheme – which saw councils work to provide emergency accommodation for as many people in need as possible – a restriction on evictions and lengthened notice periods for landlords contributed to significant changes to England’s statutory homelessness levels, according to the MHCLG.

There were 105 households in temporary accommodation in Wigan on December 31 – 61 more than the year before and including 57 children – while the council assessed at least 19 individuals or families were sleeping rough.

Local Government Association chairman James Jamieson said councils were determined to build on the success of Everyone In, adding: “It is vital we draw on lessons learned during the pandemic and ensure this is not just a one-off emergency response.”

Private sector eviction restrictions led to a drop of almost half in the number of households threatened with homelessness via the serving of a Section 21 notice, which landlords must issue before ending tenancies. The number of households facing eviction in Wigan, meanwhile, fell from 31 to 2019 to 12 in 2020.

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