THE ‘true scale’ of homelessness in Jersey is due to be revealed by new statistics at the start of next month, according to the Housing Minister.
Deputy David Warr said an awareness campaign was being launched to promote the support and guidance services available to those who are – or who are at risk of becoming – homeless.
Posters will be put up in locations including GP surgeries and the headquarters of Citizens Advice Jersey and the Salvation Army, drawing attention to support mechanisms such as the government’s Housing Advice Service.
Deputy Warr added that the first homelessness statistics to be published by the government since his new definition for homelessness was introduced were set to be released in the first week of April.
He said: ‘The definition I published at the end of last year ensures that our frontline services tackling homelessness are working to the same framework, which will ultimately make our data gathering more consistent. In turn, over time, this will give us a better understanding of the true scale of homelessness in Jersey.’
Deputy Warr also unveiled plans to widen the accessibility criteria for the Affordable Housing Gateway – the mechanism through which eligible Islanders access social housing – which is monitored by providers including Andium Homes to assess demand.
Changes to the qualifying income limits for the gateway came into effect on 1 January. However, Deputy Warr said this ‘didn’t appear to have changed demand’ and he would be seeking to alter it further – potentially by changing the age criteria. Applicants must currently be aged 18 or over. He said the amendments would hopefully be announced before the end of June.