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Hundreds saved from being made homeless in Ipswich last year

PUBLISHED: 09:58 20 July 2015 | UPDATED: 09:58 20 July 2015

Ipswich Housing Action Group Chief Executive Halford Hewitt

Ipswich Housing Action Group Chief Executive Halford Hewitt

Hundreds of people in Ipswich have been saved from homelessness in the last year, new Government data has revealed.

The statistics, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government, revealed that in the last financial year, 522 cases of homelessness were prevented or relieved in the Ipswich area, while 859 were prevented in the Suffolk Coastal area, which includes Kesgrave, Rushmere St Andrew, Martlesham, Woodbridge and Felixstowe.

The figures are split into homelessness prevention where local authorities were able to keep people in their own homes, while homelessness relief enabled authorities to find alternative accommodation for people facing homelessness.

A spokesman from Ipswich Borough Council said: “The council tries, wherever possible, to keep people in their present accommodation if it is safe, affordable and reasonable for them to remain there. This will normally entail officers negotiating with the landlord of the property if the person is in private rented accommodation or with friends/family if they are lodging.”

The news has also been welcomed by Richard Kerry, cabinet member for housing at Suffolk Coastal District Council. He said: “Suffolk Coastal works closely with its partners to reduce and prevent homelessness across the district. Measures already in place include building a better relationship with landlords to ensure that homes are available and accessible to those most in need, through the East Suffolk Let’s Help You website.”

Suffolk Coastal also acts as advocates on behalf of tenants, while Ipswich can provide deposit guarantee bonds and advanced rents in certain situations. However, key industry figures believe homelessness in Ipswich has increased since 2012.

Halford Hewitt, director of Ipswich Housing Action Group, said that people being placed in temporary accommodation in Ipswich by other authorities and changes to the Habitual Residency Test means benefits can be restricted to those in need from Europe.

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