Research conducted by Bournemouth Liberal Democrats has uncovered the true scale of Bournemouth's shocking housing crisis.
Through submitting Freedom of Information requests to Bournemouth Borough Council, we have discovered that:
- Only 12 new social housing units were built in 2016/17, and in total only 364 have been built since 2010.
- Nearly 4,000 people are currently on the housing register, a figure which has not significantly reduced since 2012.
- Despite this, just 386 units became available for occupation in 2016 – meeting the needs of only 10% of those on the housing list.
- Homelessness has risen at an alarming rate, with official numbers of rough sleepers more than tripling since 2010, and the number of homelessness applications increasing from 102 in 2010, to more than 600 last year.
National housing supply figures released this month by the Government also show that Bournemouth is in the lowest category for provision of new social housing.
We would make tackling this housing crisis our top priority if we are elected to the Council in 2019.
Dealing with these myriad issues is challenging and complex, but it also needs councillors who are committed to making sure everyone in our town has safe, suitable and affordable housing.
The Liberal Democrats are the only local party making this commitment. We would:
- Set about finding creative solutions to the challenge of building new social housing in the town.
- Explore the viability of introducing a Housing First scheme to tackle homelessness - something which has been successful in other areas.
- Examine the allocation of social housing to make sure that those most in need are at the top of the list.
Commenting on the figures, Phil Dunn, Parliamentary spokesperson for Bournemouth West, said:
“These figures reveal the shocking truth about the housing crisis facing our town, and paint a disgraceful picture of the Conservative Council’s indifference.
“The human cost to those caught up in this crisis is all too clear – families living in unsafe and unsuitable private rented accommodation, and people forced to live on the streets.
“Unlike the Conservatives, who seem to prefer cosying up to private developers, the Liberal Democrats have made housing their top priority, and pledged to significantly increase the amount of social housing available in the town to help those in most need.”
If you have experienced issues with housing and homelessness in the town, we would love to hear from you. Please to get in touch to tell us your story.