Colchester sees almost 1,000 homeless cases reported so far this year

A homeless person.. File image
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Colchester City Council has received almost 1,000 homeless people cases so far this year, a scrutiny meeting has heard. Colchester City Council’s scrutiny panel was told the council is working “very hard to elevate the issues” during a meeting on Tuesday night. The panel was informed that there have been 975 cases of homelessness presented to the city authority so far this year.

It comes after news that more than 300 families are homeless in Colchester, with some being moved out of the city to temporary accommodation across Essex. Speaking during the meeting on Tuesday, Councillor Alison Jay Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth and Transformation, said: “The number of households in temporary accommodation, there’s obviously been intense pressure on the housing team.

"We’ve had 975 cases presented to us this year in terms of homelessness, there were 323 households, at the end of March, that were waiting for accommodation, 86 in bed and breakfast. 468 out of a total of 2,157 are looking for three bedrooms plus, which I think is obviously in short supply.

"There’s no getting around that’s not going to get any better over the next year or so. But I think having spoken to the portfolio holder and Philip Sullivan they are working very hard to elevate the issues as far as they can.”

A homeless charity in the city has previously also raised concerns about the issue and previously blamed “a lack of affordable and accessible housing in the area.”

A spokesman for Colchester Borough Homes, the city council's housing company, said: “We understand the hardship many families are facing in Colchester due to the lack of affordable housing and the concerning rise in demand for temporary accommodation.

“The increase in demand has several contributing factors: the conclusion of hosting arrangements for families from Ukraine, the termination of contracts for bridging hotels and other temporary accommodation used by the Home Office in Colchester, a significant reduction in the availability of affordable properties in the private sector, making it increasingly difficult to prevent homelessness and we have seen the highest number of applications during the last year from those previously residing in private rented accommodation.

“We are actively working on solutions to find suitable and sustainable housing for all those in need. This includes close collaboration with neighbouring authorities to explore Essex-wide solutions and continued support through our homelessness prevention unit to help residents maintain their current tenancies.

“We recognise the financial strain and are working diligently to manage temporary accommodation costs effectively. However, addressing this complex issue requires a multi-faceted approach. We believe collaboration between local authorities, central government, and housing providers is crucial to ensure everyone has access to safe and secure housing.

“We remain dedicated to supporting the Colchester community and finding lasting solutions for those experiencing homelessness.”