Big rise in homelessness applications across Barnet

Barnet Homes reports that 2,253 local families were living in temporary housing at the end of last year, compared with 2,111 at the end of 2022, reports Grace Howarth, Local Democracy Reporter

Housing in East Barnet

Barnet Homes received 51% more temporary housing applications last year – but claims it “exceeded” its prevention target.

Ross Houston, Barnet Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and regeneration, discussed the housing service’s annual performance at a cabinet meeting yesterday (Tuesday 16th) and said the amount of people living in temporary accommodation (TA) at the end of last year were numbers he’d “not seen” in his time as a councillor.

Barnet Homes reported that 2,253 local households were living in TA at the end of December 2023, compared with 2,111 at the end of 2022. 

Cllr Houston said: “We’re now dealing with numbers we’ve not seen before, so that’s a pressure, but Barnet Homes, in terms of London, is dealing with the temporary accommodation crisis in a very robust way and making sure we get housing solutions for people.”

The Barnet Homes report stated that by the end of the third quarter of 2023/24 it had secured 1,028 homeless prevention outcomes, “exceeding the full year’s target” of 950. 

Cllr Houston added the borough’s housing service was one of the “best” in London, highlighting it was “value for money” and had a “solid performance” in terms of repairs, but added a caveat that no housing service was “perfect”.

Following the tragic death of toddler Awaab Ishak in Rochdale in 2020, which was blamed on extensive mould in his home, Barnet Council set aside £2.2million of annual funding from January 2023 to “transform” its approach to tackling damp, mould and condensation over the next four years.

The report explained there had been a “sector-wide decline” in tenant satisfaction since the pandemic and the cost-of-living challenges, but for ‘core housing management services’ Housemark, a data and insight company for the UK housing sector, placed Barnet Homes as a “top quartile performer” in London in four categories.

These included overall satisfaction with Barnet Homes as a landlord, satisfaction with the overall quality of homes and satisfaction that their home was safe.

Summarising the report, Cllr Houston said it demonstrated how the council was delivering on “various” council strategies including homelessness and housing, with “a lot of detail” of how policy would be implemented. 

Following discussion the cabinet voted to approve the plan.

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