Jersey's outlook for tackling homelessness ‘bleak’

Simon Burgess. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (37532786)

THE outlook for the Island’s homeless remains “bleak”, according to new statistics.

The Jersey Homelessness Strategic Board, which was formed in 2019 to develop collaboration between community groups and the government, has collated data from five homeless and youth accommodation providers.

It showed that, in 2023, 406 people sought shelter across the various charities.

The highest need was recorded in the second quarter of the year, when 226 people were accommodated and 14 turned away – mostly due to hostels being full.

Although the number of male residents dropped from 152 at the start of 2023 to 134 in the fourth quarter, the number of female residents grew from 59 to 66.

Around 90% of homeless residents were of working age, while 79% held “entitled” residential and employment status.

According to the report, the most common reasons for residents needing hostel accommodation included domestic violence, a relationship breakdown or being in unsafe or insecure housing – as well as eviction.

In a statement, the board said that the situation was “no better than a year ago” and that “the outlook for tackling homelessness in Jersey remains bleak”.

It noted that the first set of homelessness statistics to be published by the government since a new definition was introduced last year had still not been produced.

The board’s independent chair, Simon Burgess, said: “Defining homelessness and then evidencing its scale and nature were the first two recommendations of the board’s 2020 Homelessness Strategy. Without collating this information on an ongoing basis, the government will only be second-guessing as to the steps needed to tackle the issues and this will prevent the homelessness strategy being implemented in full.”

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