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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Number of homeless people in Carlisle halved

The number of homeless people in Carlisle has more than halved in the past year.

Jessica Riddle photo
Jessica Riddle

Fears persist that cash pressures caused by the economic downturn mean some people are unable to afford to keep their homes.

But new figures show actions to stop people becoming homeless in the city and surrounding area appear to be working.

In her latest report, Jessica Riddle, the city councillor responsible for housing, says there has been a “significant reduction” in the number of people accepted by the authority as being homeless and an increase in the numbers prevented from becoming homeless.

Between April 1 and November 30, 60 applications of homelessness were accepted and 212 homeless cases prevented.

In the same period in 2011, 131 applicants were accepted and 133 homeless cases prevented.

Occupancy levels in temporary accommodation, such as hostels, run by the council at the same time have stood at 98.7 per cent.

Average length of stay during that time has been seven weeks for single people and nine weeks for families.

Mrs Riddle told the News & Star that she hopes the lower figures can be maintained and pledged the council would keep an eye on what effects Government benefits changes would have on some incomes and the further knock-on from that.

But she said: “There are changes coming in welfare reform and housing benefit.

“We’re keeping an eye on the situation and doing our best to mitigate the changes. A lot of the paperwork associated with the changes is going to have to be completed online and we’re trying to make that as simple as possible and give as much help as we can by making it possible to do this at the Civic Centre and hopefully community centres.”

The senior councillor is, however, pleased that despite the wider economic picture, Carlisle’s homeless figures have gone down.

She added: “Our homelessness department works really hard to give all the advice they can to people to try and stop problems before they get to the crisis stage.”

Elsewhere on the housing front, 32 households in the Carlisle district are expected to benefit from small-scale energy efficiency measures.

The likes of loft clearance before insulation and draught-proofing will be carried out on the back of a Government grant secured by the Home Improvement Agency.

As part of home energy surveys carried out, advice will be given on other funding available to keep homes warm.

Parts of Cumbria have high rates of fuel poverty, with fears persisting in some parts of the county – particularly isolated rural areas with older houses – that many people are having to choose between heating and eating when temperatures drop.

Details in Mrs Riddle’s report will be heard by a full meeting of Carlisle City Council on January 8.

CStory@cngroup.co.uk

Have your say

So why is it that elderly have to lve in old poorly insulated properties still,meaning new windows and properly fitting doors that are draught free as it seems Housing Ass's dont seem to fit new windows by the looks of it just basic stuff like loft insulation makes not a jot of difference as Council seems to voice it the Pensioners still have to live in cold old houses?

Surely elderly deserve to live out their last bit of life in warmth and comfort without fear of shall we eat or heat or starve almost,either way it is is a disaster and designed to de-moralize and shame on you all at Council for allowing this to happen and for there being such a thing as Homelessness,it seems none of the Agencies set up improve this fiasco in real terms,bet they,the powers that be, wouldn't like a taste of it though.

Would like to see those who live in comfort and power live the life of homeless and cold old age pensioners for a couple of winters see how they like it and means test MP's.

Or should we all join up with Gov't Parties and get cheaper Utilities and Phone bills because that is what happens when you join up you have access to much cheaper bills.

Posted by Pete on 3 January 2013 at 15:16

Oh yes that's right, print this story just a few month's before the Bedroom Tax is enforced. Has this been printed just before the Homelessness Statistic's are sky rocketed through the roof? And before ANYBODY starts commenting on how " Benefit Scrounger's" should be made to pay, DO YOU know what's around the corner? Even if you have a job and require help to pay for your rent or may need to claim in the future, THIS WILL concern YOU ! It is astonishing that not a lot of people are aware of the new BEDROOM TAX soon to land us in massive debt. Please read up on all the implication's because end result is going to be THOUSAND'S of people left homeless.

Posted by Miss J Grinch on 3 January 2013 at 12:27

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