Reducing homelessness in South Bucks

Helping people in South Bucks who find themselves without a home is one of the most important things we do as a Council and we are taking significant steps to reduce homelessness in our area.

Homelessness statistics published by the Government at the start of this month showed that by June last year 65 children in South Bucks were living with their families in temporary accommodation. The majority of these were living in self-contained accommodation and had their own kitchen and bathroom so they did not have to share facilities with other households.

Placing families with children in bed and breakfast accommodation with shared facilities is only ever a last resort in an emergency, when no other temporary accommodation is available.

To minimise the use of bed and breakfast accommodation, we are continuing to work on providing alternatives. As result, we have reduced the number of households in bed and breakfasts by 50% compared to the position in June 2018, despite rising demand.

For example, we now have a partnership with Paradigm Housing to support the provision of decent, privately owned self-contained rented housing to be available for homeless families rather than using shared bed and breakfast facilities. We are also delivering 12 flats on Council land off Bath Road in Taplow that will provide additional accommodation for homeless households.

South Bucks is an expensive area to live in and for some people owning a home here can be difficult. On top of that, there is a very high demand for social housing.

Therefore, in addition to providing more temporary accommodation, we are also working to support the delivery of as much affordable housing as possible. This includes securing planning permission for 14 affordable homes as part of the redevelopment of Council land in Tatling End and supporting Registered Provider partners such as L&Q, Paradigm and Hightown Housing Association to deliver affordable homes in new developments.

During 2018, 80 new affordable homes were built in South Bucks for rent or shared ownership and a further 90 are scheduled for completion in 2019. We continue to seek to deliver as much affordable housing as possible via the planning process.

Cllr Patrick Hogan, South Bucks District Council portfolio holder for Healthy Communities said: "Everyone deserves to have somewhere to live. There are many reasons why someone might find themselves without a home. It's not a situation that anyone ever wants to be in and it can happen due to unforeseen circumstances.  

"Our Housing Officers work with people who find themselves without a home to secure the best accommodation for them as quickly as possible, and work to help those who may be facing homelessness.

"To address the housing issue on a long term basis, we are increasing available affordable housing in the area by building new homes, both independently and with Registered Providers."