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Government cash to prevent homelessness

FUNDS to the tune of £155,000 have been freed up from a government grant to help reduced the risk of homelessness in the district.

It’s hoped the financial boost will help those at risk of becoming homeless to keep a roof over their head.

Stratford District Council (SDC) has agreed the new policy – known as Housing Early Lifeline Payment (HELP) – to provide financial support to help residents either stay in their current home or secure new accommodation.

The move was supported by councillors at SDC’s cabinet meeting on Monday and is considered to be a amore proactive approach to the homeless issue.

The money would be provided for up to six months and recipients would also be supported by charities and other organisations to help them long term.

A rise in homelessness has seen the amount paid out by the council for bed and breakfast accommodation rocket – rising from £37,000 to over £300,000 in the past three years.

Council leader Coun Tony Jefferson said: “Welfare reforms, changing employment patterns and increased levels of debt have all impacted on residents and we have seen a higher number threatened with homelessness. The reasons for eviction include rent arrears in the social housing sector and the end of private rented sector tenancies, coupled to insufficient household funds to move to affordable accommodation to meet their needs.

“There is now a need to be able to provide short term financial assistance and use public funds effectively and preventatively, reducing the spending on bed and breakfast accommodation. The HELP Policy can achieve this with the potential to make savings over the longer term, maintain health and wellbeing and assist residents of Stratford district who are threatened with homelessness.”

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