Council Tackles homelessness

cheshire-east-council-logoThe nine-week consultation on Cheshire East Council’s draft homelessness strategy ends this week. The last opportunity to participate is Thursday 14 December.

The council has been working with a number of groups and organisations to draft a strategy aimed at reducing the problem of homelessness and providing the right services for the homeless.

Statutory bodies, the voluntary sector, charities and faith groups as well as local businesses, have all been involved in contributing to the strategy, which can be viewed on the council’s website.

Forty people, representing various organisations, including charities and faith groups, social housing providers and the police, attended a successful event at Crewe Alexandra FC football stadium in November.

Improving communication and links with the wider community is one suggestion that will be acted upon, as well as the forging of stronger relationships with the council to prevent and reduce homelessness. A number of other positive ideas and suggestions emerged from the meeting.

The strategy and consultation coincide with the imminent implementation of the government’s Homelessness Reduction Act, which comes into effect on 3 April 2018.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: “Homelessness is an issue that councils, like Cheshire East, wish to deal with in the most positive and sensitive way, working with partners to reduce the number of people sleeping on our streets or who do not have a place they can call home.

“Like many authorities, this council is aware that the problem of homelessness needs to be addressed so that the right measures can be put in place to prevent people from losing the roof over their heads.

“We have received a great many positive ideas from the groups we have engaged with and these suggestions will be incorporated into the feedback from the consultation.

“I want to thank all those organisations and individuals who have contributed to this consultation.”

The council’s current homelessness strategy (2014-17) must be reviewed and a new strategy – from 2018 to 2022 – approved. The new draft strategy contains four key priorities:

To help secure appropriate, affordable accommodation for the homeless;
To take steps to prevent homelessness;
Avoid rough sleeping wherever possible; and
Ensure appropriate support to help people stay in their accommodation.

The council is eager to tackle the detrimental effects of homelessness, such as the impact on family life and children, an individual’s physical and mental health, including the loss of self-esteem and confidence and the impact it can have on the local economy, leading to unemployment.

While homelessness in the borough has risen, this is put down to a number of factors, including family or tenancy issues. However, the number of cases where homelessness has been prevented, has also risen year on year.

*To view the new draft Homelessness Strategy visit: http://bit.ly/2Ac60wp

To view the current 2014-17 Homelessness Strategy visit: http://bit.ly/2BeeCqc