Preventing homelessness is one of the key aims of Ipswich Borough Council.
But there will always be a need for temporary accommodation and the Council steps in to help those most in need.
At the end of September there were 61 households in temporary accommodation in sites across the town, including the new West Villa.
The importance of temporary accommodation was highlighted on World Homeless Day with a visit to West Villa by the Mayor of Ipswich, Councillor Sarah Barber.
The Mayor toured the facilities and spoke to staff and residents during her visit.
The average length of stay in temporary accommodation is 13 weeks as the Borough tries to find people a more permanent home.
Sometimes, demand for temporary accommodation exceeds supply – eight families and nine single households are being housed in private bed and breakfast accommodation but are moved into alternative temporary accommodation within six weeks.
Prevention is the key and last year Ipswich Borough Council helped more than 600 households stay in their homes, offering advice and assistance and working with housing providers to increase options available to those threatened with homelessness.
The Council also offers support to accommodate the ‘hidden homeless’ who often sofa surf. There is no statutory duty to help this group but the Council is aware they can fall between different agencies.
Homelessness is a big problem in Ipswich and other towns and cities across the UK. In 2016/17, some 173 households in Ipswich were accepted as homeless, in priority need and not intentionally homeless. This represents an 11.8% increase since 2014/15.
The causes of homelessness in Ipswich follow national trends – the loss of private rented accommodation is the biggest cause, followed by eviction by parents, other relatives or friends is now the second biggest cause of homelessness with the loss of private rented or tied accommodation as the main cause.