Desperate Island families could be housed on mainland as homelessness crisis grows

·2-min read
The Isle of Wight has a housing crisis.
The Isle of Wight has a housing crisis.

A HUGE rise in families facing homelessness means they could be offered accommodation on the mainland.

The Isle of Wight Council told the County Press the option couldn't be eliminated in this "difficult moment" for local families.

There has been a 1,266 per cent rise in families requiring emergency accommodation on the Isle of Wight compared with June 2019, the council said.

An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said: “The council are currently providing emergency accommodation for over 40 local families.

“The council are providing an enhanced service offer which includes a number of additional accommodation options for families, but we are close to capacity due to the unprecedented demand.

"Despite this pressure the council have continued to ensure that no family has exceeded six weeks in bed and breakfast accommodation and all families have been accommodated locally.

“This is a difficult moment for many Island households who continue to be adversely impacted by the cost-of-living crisis and local housing market challenges.

“The council remains committed to working with our local partners to minimise the impact of homelessness for local people and to maximise the use of accommodation available to us locally.

"However, we are unable to eliminate all risks which could include the need to support homeless families by accessing units of accommodation which are not on the Island.

"We will continue to do all we can to find suitable accommodation on the Isle of Wight.”

What is the Isle of Wight Council doing about the housing crisis?

The Alliance Administration’s priority to address housing issues and homelessness, and provide affordable homes for Island families at risk of homelessness were agreed in January 2022 at cabinet.

It set out how the council will invest in relocatable modular homes to help meet urgent housing needs.

Cllr Ian Stephens said recently: "We are acutely aware that there are now many more families who have rented their property over many years that have never before approached the council for support, but now find themselves facing homelessness through no fault of their own.

"Their situation is often due to their landlords' changing circumstances, perhaps deciding to sell in the recent housing boom or moving into the 'staycation' market and Airbnb where there are higher profits and little government regulation.

"This combination of factors has resulted in a housing crisis for many low and median income families including many keyworkers."

The council's Housing Strategy key actions include facilitating 100 homes per year, mainly “affordable” homes, and maximising the provision of affordable housing on council-owned land.

The Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy Action Plan 2022 to 2024 is due to go to cabinet for approval on June 16.

Have you been affected by the threat of homelessness? Contact us on editor@iwcp.co.uk

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