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Thursday 23 September 2010

Homelessness Strategy


Cheshire East Council is setting out a three-year plan to tackle homelessness in the borough.

The Homelessness Strategy aims to reduce the number of people who find themselves without a home by tackling the causes such as unemployment and family break up. Improving services for homeless people also forms a central part of the plan.

Levels of homelessness in Cheshire East are below the national average but the Council has a responsibility to tackle the problem wherever possible.

The strategy has been drawn up after a review and consultation with statutory and voluntary sector organisations as well as individuals experiencing homelessness and the wider public.

The main aims of the strategy are:

  • Prevention – Tackling unemployment, family breakdown, ending rough sleeping, reducing repossessions, better drug and alcohol treatment.
  • Processes – Strong partnerships, especially with the probation service and mental health services to improve advice and assistance offered to people who are homeless.
  • Temporary Accommodation – Reduce the time that individuals and families spend in short-term accommodation such as bed and breakfasts.
  • Permanent Accommodation – Increase the amount of affordable housing and make better use of empty properties.
  • Tenancy Support – Increase the help on offer to tenants, this could include advice on money management, benefits and employment.

A Homelessness Strategy Steering Group will monitor and review the process on a quarterly basis.

The Homelessness Act 2002 requires local authorities to publish a review of homelessness in the area and a strategy for the future.

From April 2009 to April 2010 the Council accepted 55 applications as eligible for assistance under the Homelessness Act.

It is estimated that measures to prevent homelessness can be up to 37 times cheaper than receiving a homelessness application.

Councillor Jamie Macrae, Cabinet member with responsibility for prosperity, said: “Homelessness is not a major problem in Cheshire East, but one that could increase as we see the post-recession effects and recovery.

“A detailed review has indicated several areas where we need to focus our efforts and through close working with our partners, we are aiming to make significant progress in tackling homelessness by 2013.”

“People who find themselves without a home are often the most vulnerable in society and those that need our help the most.”

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