COUNCIL chiefs have been accused of dragging their heels over tackling the spiraling homelessness crisis in the district.
A motion was put forward Stratford District Council Cabinet this week calling for the creation of more emergency accommodation for people made homeless, or for a hostel for rough sleepers.
Coun Peter Morse is urging the council to fund the move by using £1million received from Orbit Housing Association as the authority’s share of proceeds from the sale of garages in the district.
The proposal has now been referred to the Affordable Housing Working Party to further investigate before reporting back to the Cabinet.
But Lib Dem spokesman Coun Morse – who revealed the motion was originally due to be discussed during a council meeting in July – said he was concerned at the ‘lack of urgency’.
He told the Observer: “The introduction of universal credit has created problems as has the cutback in the level of support provided by the county council.
“The changes to the buy to let regime are having an effect as well, as some landlords pull out of the private rented sector. So it’s not a problem that is likely to go away.
“Putting families with children into bed and breakfast accommodation is totally unsatisfactory. I’m delighted that the council is taking action to try to resolve the problem but still have concerns over the urgency with which this is being addressed.
“We’ll be watching carefully to see how this develops over the coming winter.”
But housing spokesman Coun Peter Richards said the number of people relying on temporary accommodation in the district had significantly reduced.
He said: “Stratford District Council recognises the important role it plays in supporting people and families who become homeless. To that end the council has worked with a local charity to increase access to temporary accommodation with the benefit of support for vulnerable families.
“It has introduced more proactive measures aimed at the early identification and resolution of problems for potentially homeless households. As a result of these interventions, the number of families and individuals being accommodated has reduced from over 35 to just eight in the last three months.
“The sub-group of the AHWG has been established to look into the reliance on bed and breakfast accommodation, given the strain that this is currently placing on the council’s budget.”