£85,000 pledged to prevent homelessness in Harrogate through 'lifeline' grants
Cash support is to be made available for Harrogate district residents at risk of losing their homes and being forced into homelessness.
Almost £85,000 has been awarded to the area from the government's Homelessness Prevention Grant scheme which aims to protect people at risk of being on the streets due to rent arrears accumulated during the pandemic.
It marks the first time Harrogate has received cash from the £316m scheme which is based on local need.
Councillor Mike Chambers, cabinet member for housing and safer communities at Harrogate Borough Council, said: “The Homelessness Prevention Grant can be a lifeline for some people as it helps reduce the risk of both single and family households from becoming homeless due to eviction.
“This extra funding to tackle homelessness is very welcome and will help residents get back on their feet.”
The funding announcement comes after 29 people in Harrogate were put up in emergency accommodation during 2020 as part of the 'Everyone In' initiative which the government had hoped would make big strides in its plan to end homelessness.
But there are now fresh fears that many households could face eviction due to the end of the furlough scheme, Universal Credit cuts and rising living costs during the coronavirus pandemic which has pushed workers across a variety of sectors into precarious circumstances.
National homelessness charity Shelter recently released figures which show more than 100,000 families across England have received eviction notices or fallen behind on their rent payments in recent months.
It has also estimated that just over 70% of families would struggle to find another home if they lost theirs this winter.
Charity chief executive Polly Neate said: “Eviction notices have started dropping on doormats and our services are working round the clock to help families who have nowhere else to go.
"Like it has before - the government needs to intervene to keep people safe in their homes. We urgently need more support for renters to protect them from eviction this winter.
“Thousands of families are teetering on a cliff edge. It’s only with the public’s support that we’ll be able to keep answering calls and help as many of them as possible keep the bailiffs at bay.”
The latest allocations in the Homelessness Prevention Grant scheme were announced by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in December.
Councils will use the funding to help people find a new home, access support for unexpected evictions and secure temporary accommodation.
Announcing the latest funding, MP Eddie Hughes, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, said: “I have seen first-hand the devastation of those who come face to face with homelessness, and my heart goes out to anyone in this situation.
"The support we are announcing today is going directly to communities that need it most.
"It will help thousands of people across England, with councils able to prevent homelessness before it occurs and put a roof over the heads of those who have lost their homes."
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter