Homelessness Rise, EDDC are Drafting in Extra Staff to Deal with Soaring Numbers

    Friday, September 10th, 2021 12:07pm

    By Joe Ives, Local Democracy Reporter

    Credit: BBC Spotlight

    Extra staff are being recruited by East Devon District Council (EDDC) to help deal with rising homelessness caused by the end of the government’s eviction ban. The council’s cabinet has agreed to hiring two extra housing officers for the next year to address a ‘second wave’ of homelessness which they say has been caused by the pandemic and is being exacerbated by the government allowing evictions to begin again.

    Extra staff are being recruited by East Devon District Council (EDDC) to help deal with rising homelessness caused by the end of the government’s eviction ban.
    The council’s cabinet has agreed to hiring two extra housing officers for the next year to address a ‘second wave’ of homelessness which they say has been caused by the pandemic and is being exacerbated by the government allowing evictions to begin again. Councillor Megan Armstrong (Independent Progressive Group, Exmouth Halsdon) told cabinet that the end of the eviction ban was causing “horrendous problems” for many people in East Devon.
    The moratorium on evictions, which began during the first wave of the pandemic, ended on 31 May. EDDC says this has fuelled homelessness in the area, with current housing staff unable to keep up with cases and some even having to take time off because of stress.
    Homelessness was already rising because of the pandemic, as was domestic violence and rent costs. It is claimed that this is not helped by Airbnb and a growth in the number of holiday homes. 
    The legal definition of homelessness is that a household has no home in the UK or anywhere else in the world available and reasonable to occupy. Homelessness does not just refer to people who are sleeping rough. It also includes those in temporary shelter without permanent accommodation, those living in inadequate or unfit housing such as campsites, and those living in insecure housing. The last definition can involve people with insecure tenancies, or facing eviction ot domestic violence, or those forced to sofa surf.
    An EDDC report says an “unsustainable” number of people are approaching the council for help. The housing options team, which assists those who are homeless or risk facing homelessness, says staff are struggling to keep up and are dealing with caseloads never before seen by EDDC. As of Thursday 5 August, there were more than 250 open homelessness cases, which is expected to rise as evictions by private landlords soar. 
    It is hoped the two extra housing officers, which are expected to cost £67,500 over the next year, will help the council keep up with the rising need for help.
    Speaking at cabinet, Councillor Jack Rowland (Democratic Alliance Group, Seaton) said: “It’s sad that we’re in a position that we have to consider this but the staff have been under such pressure and that pressure isn’t going to go away. 
    “You can only see the situation becoming worse over the remaining months of this year.”
    Councillor Steve Gazzard (Democratic Alliance Group, Exmouth Withycombe Raleigh) said he’d already seen an increase in people of people sleeping in shop doorways in Exmouth.
    Councillor Megan Armstrong picked up the general mood of the cabinet when she concluded: “There are no easy fixes to this, but we will keep trying as best we can.”
     

    More from Local News

    Schedule

    • Ben Clark

      7:00am - 10:00am

      Breakfast Show Sponsored by Home Instead

    • Ian Williams

      10:00am - 1:00pm

      Daytime Show Sponsored by Rose Lodge

    • Non Stop Pop

      1:00pm - 3:00pm

      Sponsored by The Clinton Arms

    Tide Times

    Today's Weather

    • Exmouth

      Sunny intervals

      High: 14°C | Low: 9°C

    • Sidmouth

      Sunny intervals

      High: 14°C | Low: 11°C

    • Exeter

      Sunny intervals

      High: 14°C | Low: 10°C

    • Dawlish

      Sunny intervals

      High: 14°C | Low: 12°C

    What's On

    • Exeter Canal Cruise

      Reminisce as you travel through time along the oldest working ship canal in Europe with a choice of departure from Exmouth or Exeter. Sailing through two working locks and the Countess Wear swing bridge, this cruise presents the perfect opportunity to explore the historic quayside of Exeter and enjoy a spot of lunch at one of the many independent eateries.

      at Exmouth Marina
    • Exmouth Country Market - 8.30 til 11.30am

      Cooperative market selling cakes, meals, savouries, preserves, eggs, plants, crafts, vegetables and fruit. All home made and locally produced

      at The Glenorchy Hall
    • Barn Dance

      Get your boots and checked shirts ready!! Spoken presents, Exmouth's very first Barn Dance incorporating Ceilidh Band & caller, finishing with Exmouth favourite Ian Boyd singing and entertaining you all night. The town centre of Exmouth will be home to a large marquee where a whole host of events will take place over the weekend of October 1st, and this year we are launching a fun night for the whole family. Licensed bar, hot dogs, games and foot stompin fun! 6pm - Amber Fire - Ceilidh band & caller 8.30pm - Ian Boyd. Exmouth's best, entertaining you all night

      at Marquee