Fears Lincoln could become a “magnet” for homeless people

Councillors have raised concerns successful support services in Lincoln could become a magnet for homeless people.

The introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act last year resulted in the City of Lincoln being awarded nearly £900,000 to spend.

However, councillors at the council scrutiny committee were concerned recent initiatives, including a Rough Sleeper Team and a Somewhere Safe to Stay could become so successful they attracted more homeless people to the area.

Services such as the YMCA are already in high demand, and performance scrutiny committee chairman Councillor Gary Hewson said: “Would you say with us being successful in finding people homes it’s going to put more pressure on us as housing providers?

“We’ve got waiting lists full of people who have probably got local connections, the more people coming to the city the more pressure on the city council.”

Yvonne Fox, the authority’s assistant director of housing, explained the new process involved two stages, prevention (which applies to everyone) and relief (which has a stringent set of tests).

“The only people we rehouse as statutory homeless in the city are those with priority need and with a local connection,” she said.

“So we wouldn’t offer someone from another area a council property in Lincoln unless it was in line with the legislation.”

The council is also increasing its work with private landlords and third sector charities.

She said part of the reason Government funding had been so high was because it recognised the attraction of homeless people to cathedral cities, as well as the impact of the hospital and prison.

“Homelessness legislation has always been lack so the Government has reinforced this because it is unfair on cities which are very popular places for people to apply,” she added.

Councillors were told funding in the future is not guaranteed at the moment.

They called for families with children to be given higher priority in getting rehoused and more to be done to encourage the “hidden homeless” such as those sofa surfing, to seek help.


SUBSCRIBE TO LOCAL DEMOCRACY WEEKLY, our exclusive email newsletter with highlights from coverage every week, as well as insights and analysis from our local democracy reporters.