Homelessness in Blackpool is twice the national average

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Rates of homelessness in Blackpool are more than double the national average as rising rents and the cost of living crisis start to hit people.

Latest figures from Blackpool Council show applications from homeless people seeking help in 2021/22 are at nearly 13 per 100,000 people, compared to six per 100,000 for England as a whole.

The resort continues to attract people from out-of-town due to its excessive amount of cheap rooms, but many tenants have complex needs and are more prone to losing their accommodation.

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A report to a meeting of the council’s tourism, economy and communities scrutiny committee warns: “The service remains under considerable pressure as a result of continued increase in demand.

More people are becoming homeless as the cost of living risesMore people are becoming homeless as the cost of living rises
More people are becoming homeless as the cost of living rises

“Some of this is an ongoing consequence of the impact of the pandemic, mostnotably the end of the eviction ban and increase in house prices/rents, which has caused a significant increase in homelessness for families.

“The council is also starting to see early impact from the cost of living crisis, both in people being unable to afford rent, but also in landlords needing to sell or move back into their rental properties.”

This is reflected in the number of people being put up by the council in temporary accommodation, which has risen to 103 from 80 earlier in the year.

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The report says levels of homelessness in Blackpool are “driven by transience, complex needs and poor housing.”

Around 83 per cent of homeless people in the town have additional support needs, compared to just under 52 per cent in England.

But the council’s Housing Options service is successfully rehoming many people, with 55 per cent securing accommodation for six months or more compared to 39 per cent nationally.

The number of rough sleepers is also lower this year with approximately six sleeping outdoors on any single night, down from 14 last year.

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Action to improve the situation includes intervention by the council’s arms length Blackpool Housing Company (BHC) to buy and refurbish buildings including former hotels, to create new, better quality rented accommodation.

BHC currently has 557 properties in its portfolio.

Construction of 75 council homes at Mereside has been completed, with another 131 council houses currently being built at Grange Park.