Increase in Island's homeless numbers

By Emily Pearce

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

 

HOMELESSNESS on the Isle of Wight has increased by 16 per cent during the past year.

Figures published by the Isle of Wight Council show the number of households accepted as homeless has risen from 72 in March 2013 to 84 in March 2014.

The figures only include people who have approached the council for housing help.

According to the council report, the main causes of homelessness are eviction by family or friends and the termination of private tenancies.

The number of households in temporary accommodation has increased by five per cent during the same period, from 149 to 157.

Efforts to reduce the number of empty properties, however, have proved successful.

There were 2,571 vacant properties last October, which has been reduced to 1,622.

The council's executive member for community wellbeing, Cllr Steve Stubbings, said: "This figure represents just over two per cent of the Island’s housing stock, which is well under the government target of 3.7 per cent. The council does employ an empty homes officer, who continues to work to reduce the number even further."

Two additional empty homes officers are due to be recruited this summer.

Reporter: emilyp@iwcpmail.co.uk

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by Peter Daws

15th May 2014, at 13:28:46

Good question James, I don't know the answer but when you see it going on every day it does cause a certain level of frustration and anger. I'm clearly just turning in to a grumpy old man but it's just too easy and when there are less paying in to the system than there are those that take out something's wrong but perhaps it's a bigger problem than just housing?

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by James McAdder

15th May 2014, at 12:23:58

The question, Peter Dawes, is how many genuine claimants is it acceptable to unfairly penalise in order to stop fraudulent claims?

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by Peter Daws

15th May 2014, at 11:50:05

I'm sorry to say that it is not just a few who take advantage but many many people although it's probably not PC to say so. I'm not saying this from a Daily Mail scaremongering point of view but based upon the evidence I see in my line of work on a daily basis.The abuse of the system is widespread & people are so concerned about upsetting someone or penalising a few it allows many to work it to their advantage.The welfare state is meant to be there for those in genuine need but many see it as an easy option & expect to be looked after without taking responsibility for themselves. I imagine that this might come across as some sort of right wing view but my colours are far more red than blue but this widespread assumption that you're entitled to this that or the other/it's your right, has taken away any sense of pride or self worth.You may say it's the states fault, perhaps in part but not because of cuts but because it's too easy to do nothing & blame someone else for your

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by James McAdder

15th May 2014, at 09:06:58

Yes, alan, I agree.

Giving a homeless person accommodation means they can apply for work so, as you say, a hand up, not a hand out.

And you are quite right, just because a few take advantage of the system doesn't mean that the system should be made so complex that it prevents people in real need receiving help.

Part of the problem, David Shoulder, is the age-old "catch 22". If you don't have a home, you can't get a job. If you don't have a job, you can't get a home.

There are two ways to break this cycle. Employers can employ the homeless (not going to happen), or society can give them the "hand up" that alan describes.

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by David Shoulder

15th May 2014, at 06:03:05

How many homeless have jobs? This problem is not really about a lack of houses it is about people who cannot afford to pay a fair rent and need hand outs. The Island is and will always be an employment blackspot. It is mad to build homes for people with no jobs. They should relocate to find work and everything will flow from that.

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by alan naylor

14th May 2014, at 23:10:42

James there will always be the minority that take advantage of the system from Big Corperations and off shore tax dodging money accounts to litte people who just want somwhere to live if a person can pay the rent whoever it is if given accomadation then thats a hand up not an hand out

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by James McAdder

14th May 2014, at 14:28:52

Pretending to be thrown out is fraud, and the parents who go along with the deception can be prosecuted as accessories.

The authorities are well aware of this trick, and claims of "mum chucked me out" are investigated.

You will note that the definition of statutory homelessness requires you to "prove that you are 'unintentionally homeless'". In other words it the the claimant that has to PROVE they are homeless, not the authority that has to prove they aren't.

This is why there are a lot of real homeless people out on the streets and begging. They can't meet the criteria to be classes as homeless, despite being, actually, homeless.

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by James McAdder

14th May 2014, at 14:10:10

Statutory homelessness (i.e. legally defined as homeless):

In England, Scotland and Wales only 'statutory homeless' people are entitled to housing. This means you:

are 'eligible for public funds' (this will depend on your immigration status)

have some sort of connection to the area covered by the local authority, known as a 'local connection'

can to prove that you are 'unintentionally homeless' (that it is not your fault that you became homeless)

can prove you are in 'priority need' (the definition of which varies between the different nations and which has been abolished altogether in Scotland)

(source crisis.org.uk)

So, no, it doesn't include people who choose to leave their parents house.

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by David Blackford

14th May 2014, at 10:56:52

How many people constitutes an household? _ does this include single people who choose to leave their parents home?

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by Debbie Hollebon

14th May 2014, at 10:49:45

We need those 1622 empty homes to be brought back into use but the powers of the council are limited, I lived next to an empty home for 10 years. The chap who owned it lived with his mother.He took out the kitchen and bathroom making the empty home unusable and the council could not force him to do the works required.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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