- Date: 18/10/2023
11% rise in Stoke-on-Trent homelessness: Honeycomb Group specialist shares more
Experts at our homelessness champion, Concrete, have weighed in on new national statistics, which showed an 11% rise in people approaching Stoke-on-Trent City Council for homelessness support last year.
The data, released this month by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), captured the ‘statutory homelessness in England’ figures for the financial year of 2022-23.
During the year, 1,547 households in Stoke-on-Trent reached out to the city council for support and had an initial assessment, a rise of 11% on the previous year’s statistics.
Following assessment, 913 households were owed a relief duty, a rise of 13% on 2021-22’s data. This is when a household is already homeless, and the local authority has a duty to help them secure accommodation for at least six months. A further 627 households were also owed a prevention duty – an increase of 6% on the previous year. This is when a household is threatened with homelessness, so the local authority has a duty to help prevent them from becoming homeless.
Our homelessness specialists Concrete, based in Stoke, deliver accommodation and support to people impacted by homelessness across the city. They currently house and support over 150 men, women and young people.
Operations Manager for Community Housing, Dean Marsh, has shared more about why homelessness has continued to rise within the city in recent years.
“As a homelessness service, these numbers are sadly not shocking to us. It’s something we’re seeing more and more of, particularly in recent years.
Operations Manager Dean Marsh
“There are many reasons for homelessness - it can genuinely happen to anyone. It could be due to the repossession of a property, losing a rented home through increased rent, fleeing dangerous situations like domestic abuse and other relationship or family breakdowns.
“The cost-of-living crisis is having a devastating impact on people’s lives. People are struggling to budget their money and pay their bills, which results in them losing their home. They’re having to make choices between their essentials – heating, eating and rent.
“It’s never a choice. It might sometimes look that way, if we see someone coming back into the system again and again, but there’s always a bigger reason. Everyone has a unique story that has brought them to a homelessness service. The cycle of homelessness can be a difficult one to escape.”
Concrete believes that to end homelessness, more than housing is needed. This means providing support and guidance to move forward and live independently.
Dean continued: “We can’t just house someone, keep them warm for a while and then send them away with no support. It’s about teaching them how to navigate society, which is difficult if you have been on the outside of it for such a long time.
“Many of the customers we see at Concrete have been entrenched in a homeless lifestyle for many years. It takes tailored support, kindness and understanding to truly make changes and break the cycle of homelessness.
“It’s the little things too. This year we opened a pantry at our Stoke head office. This is stocked with essential food and toiletries, all completely free to our customers, to make sure they have everything they need and don’t have to go without.
“We want our customers to be well equipped for life after our support, to prevent them from becoming homeless again.”