Council set to adopt first homelessness strategy since merger

East Suffolk Council is set to adopt its first homelessness and rough sleeping strategy Picture: THI

East Suffolk Council is set to adopt its first homelessness and rough sleeping strategy Picture: THINKSTOCK - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

East Suffolk Council is set to adopt its first five-year homelessness and rough sleeping strategy.

The council's cabinet is set to meet on Tuesday, October 1, to discuss the plans, which have been recommended for approval.

This will be the first published by East Suffolk, formed after the merger of Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District councils - their previous joint strategy on homelessness expired in 2018.

The document sets out four key priorities - to prevent underlying causes of homelessness, to increase available accommodation options, to support vulnerable households and to achieve the government's objective of eliminating rough sleeping by 2027.

It promotes early intervention and prevention, identifying households at risk of homelessness and working with them to create a personal housing plan as well as encouraging other organisations to refer people for help.

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It also includes working with partner agencies to support people once they have become homeless to help them access alternative accommodation.

The strategy, which has been published on the council's website, states that since the introduction of the Government's Homelessness Reduction Act in 2018, the number of people coming to the council or help has risen, as has the complexity of the cases seen.

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It says in 2017-18, 260 cases of homelessness were prevented in Waveney while 133 were prevented in Suffolk Coastal.

In April this year, the authority was awarded more than £200,000 from the government's national rough sleeping initiative.

The draft homelessness strategy went to public consultation between February and May this year, with feedback used to complete the final strategy.

Councillor Richard Kelly, portfolio holder for housing, said: "The previous joint strategy from our predecessor councils Waveney and Suffolk Coastal has brought positive changes and outcomes.

"However, we still face very clear challenges with homelessness and rough sleeping increasing nationally.

"We are not immune from these challenges and this new strategy will enable us to focus on the areas where we can have a real impact on people's lives, working with partners to deliver crucial outcomes."

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