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Harlow Council house boss takes Robert Halfon to task over housing figures

News / Fri 24th Nov 2017 at 12:14pm

Mark W

THE following statement is from Councillor Mark Wilkinson, Harlow Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, about homelessness funding figures published by the town’s MP:

“Earlier this year £891,300 was awarded to Essex County Council for homelessness prevention projects across 12 of the county’s areas. In June 2017 as part of this Harlow and Epping Forest have been allocated a case worker to work with up to 27 households a year. None of the funding will come directly to Harlow Council. Unfortunately a separate bid from us for Government funding to target local priorities was not successful.

“We have however along with other councils been awarded funding to help with the implementation of the Government’s Homelessness Reduction Act. From April 2018 councils will have increased duties and responsibilities for homelessness. We have been allocated just over £136,000 for a three year period, starting in December 2017. All of the funding for this year has already been committed due to a 35% increase in homelessness in the town.

“We welcome any Government funding and support which can help prevent homelessness, but none of this is funding we can use to provide and build the new affordable homes we so desperately need right now.

“What we are seeing is more people sleeping rough, we are placing more families in temporary accommodation, and we are hearing about more people sleeping on sofas or living in vulnerable situations. Recent figures from Shelter reveal that 681 people are living in temporary accommodation and 20 people are sleeping rough in Harlow.

“The lack of affordable housing and homelessness has been a problem for many years but today the issue is fast becoming a catastrophic situation across the country.

“We will continue to do what we can to provide affordable homes for rent and ensure there is a good quality mix of new housing in the town. There are sometimes difficult and very complex circumstances as to why people become homeless and choose to stay homeless. We have a local homeless partnership that works with local organisations like Streets2homes and The Chocolate Run. Together we try to target the limited resources we all have to meet local priorities.

However, with the current situation and the challenges we are facing, our work will not be enough to tackle the overall homelessness problem.

“I am happy to meet with the town’s MP to discuss of all this and how we can work together, because it’s important that we all understand the problems we are facing with homelessness in Harlow.”

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1 Comment for Harlow Council house boss takes Robert Halfon to task over housing figures:

carra
2017-11-27 09:28:05

Why are these people obsessed by supply. Until we tackle the uncontrolled demand housing along with strains on public services will never be sorted.

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