AddThis SmartLayers

Daily demands ban on non-locals being sent to city’s homeless hostels

A regional daily has demanded a government ban on non-locals being moved to homeless hostels on its patch.

The Birmingham Mail and its Birmingham Live sister website have launched a campaign to stop more so-called ‘exempt’ homeless hostels and houses opening in the citry.

There are more than 8,200 properties now open in Birmingham, housing at least 22,000 vulnerable people from all around the country.

The Mail says the expansion of such properties has led to rape victims being housed with sex offenders and young care leavers being sent to live with ex-offenders just out of jail.

Birmingham hostels

In a petition to Michael Gove, Minister for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the newspaper has demanded a ban on more individuals being housed in Birmingham ‘exempt’ properties who have no clear links to the area, except in crisis situations where they are fleeing danger.

It also wants emergency measures to be introduced to stop more properties opening in areas where foo many already exist, as well as more funding and powers for local authorties to “clamp down on badly run, unsafe accommodation”.

Many of them are well run and provide good support, carefully vetting tenants and helping them improve their lives.

In an accompanying piece discussing the properties, the Mail said: “Many of them are well run and provide good support, carefully vetting tenants and helping them improve their lives. But too many are not.

“For those tenants, home is unsafe, with little support offered.

“We know of rape victims housed with sex offenders, young care leavers sent to live with ex-offenders just out of jail, people with serious mental illnesses abandoned, people newly clean of drugs housed with addicts.

“Surrounding communities also pay the price – in fear, rubbish, anti-social behaviour and crime.”

“The Government has launched pilot projects to examine possible solutions. A select committee inquiry is taking place on the issue.

“But all the while more exempt properties are opening up. In Birmingham we can’t wait any longer.”

The campaign has been backed by MPs, council leaders, homeless charities, policing chiefs, good providers and resident groups.

A DLHC spokesman told the Mail: “It is completely unacceptable for any landlord to abuse the exempt accommodation system and we will not stand for it.

“We recently ran exempt accommodation pilots in five areas of England (backed by £5.4 million funding) to crack down on rogue landlords and are urgently reviewing their findings.

“We will continue to take action to ensure that supported housing is of good quality and provides the right support for residents.”