Council tenants will not be evicted and homeless accommodation will be increased as part of a raft of measures to help people weather the financial crisis brought on by the coronavirus outbreak.
Councillor Gill Williams, the city council’s chair of housing, is urging private landlords to help tenants left unable to pay their rent as a result of layoffs.
Shelters for rough sleepers are not being closed, although there are plans to try and move on people from the shelters as quickly as possible – including, where there is no risk, sending people with no connection to the city back to areas they have moved here from.
It has currently identified ten units for any homeless people who need to self-isolate and is working on a triage system so services aren’t overwhelmed.
However, nobody has yet needed to use them.
In order to keep these units clear, everyone else is being moved into privately sourced or shared facility accommodation. Meanwhile, the council is trying to speed up the completion of its own temporary accommodation and to move people out of longer term homeless accommodation.
It’s working with community groups to plug gaps in provision, such as the delivery of food and other essentials.
Councillor Williams said: “As a council, we’re committed to preventing homelessness and supporting residents who may be struggling to pay their rent to keep their homes at this difficult time and beyond.
“We very much welcome the government’s announcement that no-one in private rented accommodation should be evicted during this time.
“This will give us more time to help residents resolve matters or find alternative accommodation.
“We are also actively seeking the support of partners to work together to prevent eviction and homelessness of renters across Brighton & Hove.
“As part of that, I’d like to take this opportunity to ask all private landlords in the city to do all they can to help tenants who cannot pay their rent due to the economic impact of the situation.”
She said the council is also looking how to deploy its share of the national £500 million hardship fund.
Council officers are trained in resolving problems between tenants and landlords, and helping people pay their rent.
Councillor Williams added: “We are working with other agencies to support and encourage people to claim welfare benefits wherever possible, including Council Tax Reduction.
“We would encourage anyone in financial difficulty to contact our council tax team immediately using our online form.“
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