SOUTHEND council failed to home 70 per cent of homeless families last winter, according to new Government figures.

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government figures show the council’s duty to rehome homeless families ended for 94 eligible households in Southend between October and December last year.

Of these, 67 families, 71 per cent of all homeless families had not been helped to secure a home. This is worse than the previous three months when 63 per cent remained homeless.

This means Southend Council’s success rate is lower than the national average, with 51 per cent of 39,000 homeless households owed housing and relief from homelessness across England not housed during the last three months of 2019..

One fifth of households facing homelessness in England lost their last settled home due to a private tenancy ending, according to Shelter.

The charity says the Government figures suggest councils are unlikely to cope with further increases in homelessness triggered by the coronavirus outbreak, if a three-month ban on evictions introduced in March is not renewed at the end of June.

Ian Gilbert, leader of the council with a responsibility for housing, said: “Our teams work very hard to deal with hundreds of homelessness cases and applications every year, and work hard to get people into long term secure accommodation.

“In some cases, it is not always possible and people do remain in more temporary arrangements longer than we would like.

“Homeless families are never left on the street.

“That is why we are increasing the amount of social housing available through our own building schemes and why we continue to buy private properties to turn into new council housing to ease the housing pressures locally.

“Our Housing Solutions Team works around the clock to prevent homelessness happening in the first place, assisting hundreds of people who are threatened with or made homelessness.

“We liaise with landlords, mediate with family, provide temporary accommodation, assist people in supported housing, source properties and provide financial assistance to help people move into settled accommodation.”

Mr Gilbert said the council is also asking private property landlords to consider letting their properties to those who are ready to move into more stable accommodation.