Concern over ‘massive gap’ in care for homeless people in Erewash

More people in Erewash have been prevented from losing their home.
More people in Erewash have been prevented from losing their home.

Erewash Borough Council received more requests from residents fearing that they would soon become homeless last year than in the year before – but 100 fewer families were prevented from losing their accommodation.

Out of the 1,137 people who got in touch with the authority from April 2017 to March this year, 136 were homeless or at risk of homelessness due to parental eviction, 132 due to another relative or friend eviction, and 68 due to the ‘violent breakdown of relationship involving partner’.

Of these 1,137 enquiries, 222 new cases were opened by the council’s housing option team and as a result 159 households were prevented from becoming homeless.

In the previous year, April 2016 to March 2017, fewer inquiries were received at 1,045, but more cases were opened at 424 and more households were prevented from becoming homeless – 259.

An Ilkeston homelessness charity worker said there was a ‘massive gap’ in care available for homeless people who have both a drug and alcohol addiction as well as mental health difficulties.

Katrina Brocklehurst, senior support worker for the homelessness charity P3, based on Cotmanhay Road, said: “Mental health is a huge issue, there is a massive gap in support in this area. Many, but not all, of the people we see have drinking or alcohol addiction issues as well as mental health concerns, which would see them referred onto a mental health specialist charity. But many of these organisations won’t take on a client for mental health support if they have addiction problems, which leaves them feeling like they have nowhere to turn. Many homeless people are perfectly capable of walking around without turning to addiction and are able to look after themselves, they just need a little help.

“There was a big increase in people coming to us for help over the winter, we had to use our emergency beds to cope, which we have never had to do before. That is declining now and has calmed down, but we never have an empty bed.”

A spokesperson for the council said: “Erewash Borough Council is responsible for tackling homelessness and offering advice to residents on their housing needs and this is a top priority. Between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018, the council assisted more than 1,100 residents requiring housing advice and those who were homeless or threatened with homelessness. Last year the council’s Housing Options team was successful in preventing 159 households from becoming homeless.”

People worried they may become homeless can contact the council’s housing options team on 0115 907 2244.