Stoke & Staffordshire

Stoke-on-Trent council blames families for homelessness

Woman in room
Image caption Local charities report a rise in the number of young people coming to them with accommodation issues

The biggest cause of homelessness in Stoke-on-Trent is people being refused support by friends and family, according to the city council.

Over the past four years, more than 200 people came to the council because relatives could no longer put them up.

Other reasons included struggling to pay mortgages and landlords ending short term tenancies.

By law, the authority has to publish a report every five years which outlines how it will tackle homelessness.

The figures only relate to statutory homeless cases - people whose situation means the authority has a duty to find them accommodation as well as a whole range of other support.

These priority cases are based on things like their age and family circumstances.

Val Bourne, from the council's housing department, said that support for young people was a big priority.

"We'll have a mediation service, first of all to work with families to try and prevent the young person being asked to leave in the first place.

"Very often a family can't manage to have the young person still living with them, but that doesn't mean that they don't want to try to support them as much as they can."

'Increasingly inevitable'

Part of the city council's Homelessness Strategy is to work closely with local charities.

Gill Brown, from housing support charity Brighter Futures, said the problem of homelessness would only get worse in the next few years.

"We're talking about people who are up against it financially already before things start to go wrong with children.

"It's hard, and with the healthcare benefit reforms that the government's bringing in, it's going to get a lot harder.

"And without a significant house-building program of homes to rent in this country, homelessness is going to become increasingly inevitable."

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