How many people are homeless in Shropshire? Shropshire Council answers my questions

As you know, I have been working on housing issues in Ludlow, including homelessness. Next Thursday (18 December), I am will ask a question at Shropshire Council main council meeting on homelessness. The council yesterday published its answer to the question (see below).

A few points strike me immediately.

Rough sleepers. The estimate of rough sleepers, ten, seems rather low. But it is difficult to estimate this number (see this guide).

Cold weather shelter. It is welcome that Shropshire Council is committed to provide temporary accommodation to anyone whom is known to be rough sleeping within Shropshire. This will be available from 15 December until end of February (longer if it’s a severe winter). Emergency accommodation will also be in place if the Met Office predicts the temperature will drop below zero degrees Celsius for three consecutive nights.

Homeless. The number of people who are classified as statutory homeless was 200 in 2013/14. This is well down on the peak of 309 in 2010/11 but the number seems to vary year by year.

Homelessness prevention or relief. This question relates to non-statutory interventions to help people who are or are about to become homeless. The number of interventions by Shropshire Council has doubled from 538 in 2009/10 to 1,026 in 2013/14. I have given my notice that my supplementary question next Thursday will be to ask why there has been such a big leap. I’ll report back on this.

Hidden homeless. I didn’t ask a question on hidden homelessness, but it is an important category. There are a lot of sofa surfers and people living in unsatisfactory temporary circumstances.

If you are reading this and are in immediate need of housing or think you might soon find yourself in need, please see my guide on how to get help.


Homelessness in Shropshire: Question

MR ANDY BODDINGTON will ask the following question:

Shropshire Council’s Homelessness Strategy is due for review in 2015.

a) What is the timetable for that review and what will be its scope / terms of reference?

b) How many people were rough sleepers in Shropshire in the years 2010 to 2014?

c) How is the number of rough sleepers calculated (counted, estimated)?

d) What arrangements are currently in place for providing shelter in severe weather emergencies for rough sleepers?

e) How many people were classified as statutory homeless in Shropshire in the years 2010 to 2014?

f) How many cases of homelessness prevention or relief did Shropshire Council action, outside the statutory homelessness framework, in the years 2010 to 2014?


Homelessness in Shropshire: Answer

MR MALCOLM PRICE Portfolio Holder for Strategic Planning, Planning, Housing and Commissioning (Central) will reply

a) The timetable for the Review has still to be confirmed, however the draft structure is as follows:

January – February 2015: Stakeholder consultation to evaluate existing Homelessness Strategy and scope review / agree terms of reference
March – June 2015: Formal discussions with stakeholders to inform Homelessness Strategy
June – September 2015: Draft Homelessness Strategy
September 2015: Draft Homelessness Strategy to Cabinet for approval to consult
September – December 2015: Consultation period
December 2015 – January 2016: incorporation of feedback from consultation. Final draft prepared.
February/March 2016: Homelessness Strategy to Council for adoption.

Timetable for review is yet to be confirmed. The review will need to have regard to the latest Homelessness Strategy Action Plan and the wider Shropshire Housing Strategy.

b) Rough sleepers in Shropshire in the years 2010 to 2014;

2010 – 10
2011 – 13
2012 – 10
2013 – 12
2014 – 10.

c) How is the number of rough sleepers calculated (counted, estimated)?

Estimate night once each year involving partner agencies (both statutory and non-statutory), e.g. Police, Brighter Futures

d) Current arrangements in place for providing shelter in severe weather emergencies for rough sleepers;

Emergency accommodation is to be provided in the event of outside temperature is forecast by UK Met Office to drop below zero degrees celsius in Shropshire over three consecutive nights. Additional to this Shropshire Council provide temporary accommodation to anyone whom is known to be rough sleeping within Shropshire from 15th December until end of February the following year (this may be extended in the event of continuing severe weather conditions e.g. as in 2013).

e) Numbers of people who were classified as statutory homeless in Shropshire in the years 2010 to 2014;

2009/10 – 239
2010/11 – 309
2011/12 – 276
2012/13 – 239
2013/14 – 200.

f) Cases of homelessness prevention or relief that Shropshire Council actioned, outside the statutory homelessness framework, in the years 2010 to 2014?

2009/10 – 538
2010/11 – 784
2011/12 – 919
2012/13 – 1027
2013/14 – 1026.