Evictions blamed for more homeless in Blackpool

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The lifting of a ban on evictions is putting pressure on services to help the homeless with large numbers of people in need of emergency beds this winter.

 

Currently there are around 80 households in temporary accommodation in Blackpool, compared to pre-pandemic levels of between 45 and 50.

However the current figure is lower than during the peak of the first lockdown in spring and summer 2020 when numbers reached 193.

For most of the pandemic, landlords were prevented from evicting tenants to protect people from losing their homes, but the ban was lifted in June.

Rough sleepers in Blackpool

Rough sleepers in Blackpool

A council report said the latest situation reflected “both an increase in homelessness as a result of the eviction ban ending, and the services attempts to continue to offer accommodation to rough sleepers in preparation for winter.

“Higher levels of temporary accommodation are therefore expected throughout the winter period in order to continue to protect those most vulnerable.”

The report, which was presented to a meeting of the council’s tourism, economy and scrutinies committee, said during 2020/21, more than 850 households including 110 families at risk of homelessness had been helped by the council and its partners.

Of these more than 700 had now been found permanent homes including their own tenancies, supported housing or returning to live back home with their families.

The number of people estimated to be rough sleeping on any one night in Blackpool is currently between 12 and 14, around half of whom are from outside of Blackpool.

However the number of people who return to rough sleeping has reduced recently to just over one in 10, compared around a third earlier in the year.

The report warned Blackpool homeless services continued to have “significant additional pressure” compared to other parts of the country “driven by transience, complex needs and poor housing.”

But more than half (54 per cent) of homeless people in Blackpool secure accommodation for six months or more, compared to the national average for England of 38 per cent.

However more people in the town are at risk of losing their existing accommodation “highlighting the issues with transience and high levels of sofa surfing prevalent in Blackpool.”