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‘Phenomenal’ increase in calls from people facing eviction after ban ended

PUBLISHED: 06:00 30 September 2020 | UPDATED: 06:57 30 September 2020

Young homeless boy sleeping on the bridge. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Young homeless boy sleeping on the bridge. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

bodnarchuk

A Norfolk council is getting more than double its usual number of calls from people who risk being made homeless after the eviction freeze was ended, it has emerged.

Shaun Vincent, Leader of Broadland District Council. Picture: Simon FinlayShaun Vincent, Leader of Broadland District Council. Picture: Simon Finlay

Broadland Council has revealed it is receiving more than twice as many calls for help with housing, following the government’s end to the eviction court hearings freeze.

The council is getting 2,000 calls a week, compared to its usual 750, after the emergency ban ended on Sunday, September 20.

Speaking during a meeting of Broadland’s cabinet, held on Wednesday, September 29, Victoria Parsons, policy and partnerships officer at the council, said: “As the freeze on court hearings for evictions ended last week, we’ve been preparing for a large increase in people facing homelessness due to the loss of their rental properties.”

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Fran Whymark, Broadland District CouncillorFran Whymark, Broadland District Councillor

It came as the council approved a strategy to tackle homelessness across Greater Norwich over the next five years.

She added: “We’ve been getting a large increase in demand.

“We’ve been getting about 2,000 calls per week into the housing team. The normal figure is around 750 calls per week.

“The team have been working hard engaging with landlords and families to try and prevent homelessness for those who are sofa surfing or facing losing their privately rented home - and this will be continued throughout the actions outlined in the strategy.”

READ MORE: Call for compassion from landlords as coronavirus eviction ban is lifted

Ms Parsons said a recent report from the Office for Budget Responsibilty (OBR) found that one in eight workers faced being unemployed this winter.

Council leader Shaun Vincent said: “There’s a large amount of work being done around this.”

And Fran Whymark, cabinet member for housing and wellbeing, said the rise was a “phenomenal increase”.

He added: “This work ultimately is about supporting people who are very, very vulnerable.

READ MORE: Warnings of ‘mass homelessness’ from tenants and renters unions despite eviction ban reprieve

“If we bear in mind that the average age for a male and female is 83-years-old, the average lifespan when you’re on the street is likely to be 47 and 43.

“A woman is likely to live half the time she normally would do if she is on the streets.”

Previously, Labour’s shadow housing secretary Thangam Debbonaire called for the ban to be extended, and said “The government is walking right into a homelessness crisis this winter.”

The government had initially extended the ban to August 23, and again to September 20.

READ MORE: Evictions banned for private renters, government announces

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