Many of the headlines we see locally and nationally focus on the homeless. Rough sleepers in particular are often in the news, however homelessness goes far wider and affects far more people than you might realise.
In fact, over 567 homeless applications were taken by the Housing team in Bournemouth alone last year.
Most of these applications are from tenants in private rented accommodation who are being evicted by their landlord.
Our team works tirelessly to prioritise those most in need of help, however it is often the case that by the time people reach us in the Housing Department many people are already in crisis. These people can often end up in B&B or temporary accommodation which has a huge impact on well-being and family life.
Thinking about ways to prevent this, and with an opportunity to bid for funding in 2017, I am proud to have been part of setting up the Housing Early Prevention Service.
We focus on offering advice, support and co-ordination to help tenants to stay in their homes. I lead a team of workers dedicated to homelessness prevention as early as possible, meeting people in their own homes, liaising with landlords and other agencies to prevent the eviction notice from being issued in the first place.
There are many reasons why residents end up being evicted. The issue usually presents itself first as rent arrears however underlying this may be any number of social issues that may be the true cause. This could be a change to benefits or with employment, health, mental health, relationships, family issues or domestic violence for example. We all experience significant changes in our circumstances at some time in our lives.
It’s rarely easy to ask for help as pride and fear can get in the way. Trust is so important and that’s why we’re really pleased that many of our customers are approaching us directly as well as through our partners that already have a good relationship in place.
It’s easier to sort things out without fear of eviction. If you are worried about your situation please don’t wait, act now.
We’re preventing eviction notices being issued over 50% of the time – that’s 178 people and families lives, helped away from homelessness so far!
Gary Pulman, Homelessness Partnerships Coordinator for Bournemouth & Poole
Tel: 01202 633457