Nearly nine out of 10 councils are preparing for a sharp increase in homelessness if Covid-19 support such as the furlough scheme and eviction protections are removed too quickly as restrictions ease.
The District Councils’ Network (DCN) – representing 187 district councils in England – warned not taking a phased approach to removing protective measures could plunge families into crisis and undermine the work done to protect them during the pandemic. The Westminster government confirmed bailiff-enforced evictions will restart from June 1 alongside four-month notice periods. Furlough is set to end in September.
Cllr Giles Archibald, the District Councils’ Network’s Better Lives spokesperson, said: “The coronavirus crisis has hit many people hard and the economic impact will continue to be felt for some time.
“Therefore it is vital that, as we come out of the pandemic, we don’t rush to unravel the unprecedented level of support the Government rightly provided to protect families at risk of hardship and homelessness.
“The government must retreat carefully from these big national interventions, while equipping local district councils with the funding and flexibility to solve problems before they grow in impact and cost. As we build back better, we must ensure councils can ensure no-one is left behind.”
DCN’s ‘Building back better – leaving no-one behind’ report found nearly half of councils reported an increase in the need to mediate with landlords to support tenancies during the pandemic, despite the eviction ban.