100 people left homeless in Ipswich after leaving care, prison or hospital

The council says it is battling to reduce rough sleeping and homelessness Picture: GETTY IMAGES

The council says it is battling to reduce rough sleeping and homelessness Picture: GETTY IMAGES - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

There are calls for better support for young people leaving care and those released from prison who are at risk of being left homeless.

More than 100 people in Ipswich were left homeless or at risk of not having a home last year after moving on from care, leaving prison or being discharged from hospital with no settled accommodation to move into.

In the year to March, Ipswich council offered homelessness support to 55 households, made up of more than 100 individuals, where the main applicant had left an institution without a place to call home.

According to the data released by the former Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), in the same time frame more than 7,700 households were pushed into homelessness or at risk of having nowhere to live because they had left an institution. This is a 24% rise from the previous year.

Around 7,100 of these households had the main applicant listed as someone who had left care.

Neil Macdonald

Housing portfolio holder Neil MacDonald. - Credit: IBC

Councillor Neil MacDonald, Ipswich Borough Council's portfolio folder for housing and health, said: "As we know, there's a current shortage of affordable housing and rental accommodation, which the council is working to change.

"But in the meantime we have a team of people who are working with people at risk.

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"We work hard with all of our applicants, but those who have left institutions and the care system often need more than just housing - they need a support package and it's not always easy to find the right one, especially when it comes to mental health difficulties.

"In the last year, that team has prevented more than 900 households from homelessness in Ipswich."

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of homelessness charity Crisis, said there was no excuse for anyone to leave care - or any other institution - with nowhere to go.

He added: “If we are to give people the best chance at a life, then we really need to see all services working together to put plans in place to help people move on.”

A spokeswoman for the new Levelling Up, Housing and Communities - which has replaced the MHCLG - said more people were being referred to homelessness prevention services.

She added: “Tackling rough sleeping and homelessness remains an absolute priority for the government and we are spending an unprecedented £750m this year, including funding for drug and alcohol treatment and mental health support.”