The council has credited a “huge effort” from its Housing Needs team for achieving this.
Latest figures from November show that there were just five households placed in hotels or B&Bs, compared to 138 in January last year.
The big push to find alternative accommodation for homeless families followed the introduction of the Government’s ‘Everybody In’ initiative at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. This saw councils asked to make provision available for all rough sleepers to come in off the streets and be provided shelter to minimise the risk of greater spread of Covid.
At the time, the council was able to source hotel accommodation, and with the support of a number of Safer off the Streets partners from the faith and voluntary sector, organisations set up a rough sleeper rest centre accommodating 50 people in the first weekend, made up of people who could no longer stay in night shelters because of shared sleeping spaces and rough sleepers.
Over the following 15 months all services rallied to provide support, advice, advocacy, food and shelter to those being accommodated, with a number of local businesses going above and beyond to provide hot food to residents every night of the week.
However, as Covid lockdowns came and went access to accommodation became difficult and the number of people accommodated grew to a peak in January 2021 of 138 households.
Since that time, though, the council’s Housing Needs team and its partners have been working hard to resettle many of the individuals they have been supporting which has resulted in the number of households accommodated in hotel or B&B accommodation reduced to just five in November.
The ‘Everybody In’ initiative has now ended, but the council continues to offer accommodation and support for all eligible rough sleepers.
Cllr Steve Allen, cabinet member for housing, culture and communities, said: “Throughout the pandemic there has been an incredible push from the council, partners and organisations to get rough sleepers off the streets and give them access to a wide range of support.
“Despite rising numbers of households needing our help our Housing Needs team has done a superb job in making sure only a handful remain in B&B and hotel accommodation, with the others being placed elsewhere.
“We know this remains a challenging time for so many families, so please get in touch if you need our help.”