Call for council evictions to be canned amid rush for homes

Homeless people in Norwich will benefit from a Christmas party.

Homeless people in Norwich are being supported by a range of services including St Martins - Credit: Evelyn Simak/Geograph

A cash crush for tenants and councils alike cannot lead to vulnerable people being turfed out to live on the streets, experts have warned.

Amid a cost of living crisis and demand for council properties far outweighing supply, tough decisions are having to be made about who gets a roof. 

But this cannot lead to people being turfed out with nowhere to go, said Greg Mangham who is the founder and chief executive of homelessness charity Only a Pavement Away.

He said: "I can't see the logic of evicting people - it's such a short term solution. If it's someone who has hit destitution or is fighting the cost of living, if they are then evicted it's going to cost the government more in the long run."

Dr Jan Sheldon, chief executive of St Martins homeless service, added: "It’s really tough times for everyone. Undoubtedly the people who are at most risk of homelessness are those without savings and strong family networks."

Dr Sheldon highlighted the Homeless Reduction Act 2017 which places a duty on local authorities to support people who feel at risk from homelessness within the next 56 days.

The scheme is being delivered by St Martins Housing Trust. Pictured is chief executive Dr Jan Sheldo

The scheme is being delivered by St Martins Housing Trust. Pictured is chief executive Dr Jan Sheldon. Picture: St Martins - Credit: Archant

"It’s always best and much less traumatic to take action as soon as possible to prevent homelessness," she added. 

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It comes as 31-year-old Daniel Eastman - who is on disability benefits and has severe mental health issues - was evicted from his temporary accommodation at Tudor House in Lower Clarence Road last week. 

Tudor House B&B in Lower Clarence Road 

Tudor House B&B in Lower Clarence Road - Credit: Google Maps

He was in rental arrears of £21 but it is understood this was not the first time Mr Eastman had been unable to pay on time.

Mr Eastman is now sofa-surfing with his mum at a friend's home in Great Yarmouth after they both had to leave the family home in Brundall last summer following a divorce. 

Daniel Eastman who was evicted from his accommodation in Thorpe Hamlet 

Daniel Eastman who was evicted from his accommodation in Thorpe Hamlet - Credit: Contributed

A spokesman for Broadland District Council, which owned his accommodation, said: "A decision to evict is never taken lightly and is never our preferred option.

"This stage of the housing process is only reached after a considerable amount of time and resource has been invested in exploring every possible avenue." 

Those concerned about homelessness should contact www.pathwaysnorwich.org.uk.