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Bay homeless figures remain static thanks to advice service

By Herald Express  |  Posted: October 08, 2012

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TORBAY is bucking the national trend on homelessness, thanks to a successful advice service.

New Government statistics show the number of people accepted as homeless went up two per cent nationally between January and March, which was up 16 per cent on the same quarter last year.

However, in Torbay numbers are remaining fairly static as more and more people are successfully advised on how to avoid homelessness.

The number of households accepted as homeless in Torbay dropped from 109 in 2009/10 to 57 in 2011/12.

The numbers living in temporary accommodation dropped from 107 in 2009/10 to 32 last year.

However, the increase in those receiving housing support in the private sector was 33 per cent in 2009/10 and 53 per cent last year.

Deputy mayor David Thomas explained at the full council meeting that preventative action is key to maintaining the lower numbers of accepted homeless.

"Some of the initiatives and services we provide are our bond scheme to help access to private rented sector, access to supported accommodation and floating support, emergency and temporary accommodation, housing benefit, mortgage and debt advice."

He said the housing options service had seen a 30 per cent increase in demand for advice and assistance for each of the last two years.

The numbers who have been prevented from becoming homeless has risen from 370 in 2009/10 to 557 in 2010/11.

"However, we are very aware of the potential implications that the Government's welfare reform changes may have and are working with our partners to identify those most affected so that early information and assistance can be effective," said Cllr Thomas.

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