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Thursday 8 January 2015

Council saves hundreds of people from homelessness


Cheshire East Council played a key role in preventing hundreds of people being made homeless in 2014 – and it has this week vowed to do even more.

A total of 625 people were assisted to keep a roof over their heads last year (2014 – see notes to editors).

Now, the Council’s Cabinet has agreed the Homelessness Strategy for 2014-17, which looks to build on the good work the authority has done over the past three years.

The new strategy focusses on five key areas: providing effective early intervention, complex needs and crisis management, support, accommodation and affordability and communication.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This Council puts residents first and we have vowed to put a stop to homelessness in Cheshire East.

“Our officers have done a tremendous job of keeping so many people from having to sleep rough and being homeless but we will continue to improve our services so that nobody is left without help.

“The housing options team at Cheshire East Council is highly committed and staff put residents first in whatever way they can.

“The team works tirelessly to prevent homelessness in the first place and provides advice and help to those who do need to find accommodation.”

Councillor Don Stockton, Cabinet member in charge of housing and jobs, said: “Cheshire East does not experience the same levels of homelessness that are seen in some of our cities. But this does not mean we rest on our laurels – we do all we can to ensure we keep people from being homeless.

“I am delighted to say the Homelessness Strategy for 2014-17 has been agreed – it is an excellent document which is accompanied by a comprehensive action plan to ensure we continue to deliver results for the people of Cheshire East.”

Homelessness or the threat of being homeless can have serious physical and mental impacts and can result in a loss of self-esteem and the ability to find and keep a job and sustain personal relationships.

Children also suffer from being moved to temporary accommodation, which can affect their school work and emotional wellbeing.

The Council worked closely with statutory and voluntary agencies as well as service users themselves throughout 2014 to identify any gaps in services and to make it easier for people to be able to get help when it is needed.

This strategy sets out ways to further reduce the number of homeless people in the Borough such as providing a drop-in centre in the south of the Borough and improving advice and liaison for those leaving care or prison.

It will also look to stop rough sleeping by building on the ‘No Second Night Out’ project and work with the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) to prepare tenants for the roll-out of Universal Credit.

Working with its partners, the Council intends to provide value for money, ensure best practice and enhance services for customers. There are 52 actions set in the Homelessness Strategy which will be monitored every three months by the Homeless Strategy Steering Group.

If anyone is homeless or thinks they could be homeless soon, they should call the Council on 0300 123 5017 (between 9am and 5pm) or 0300 123 5025 out of hours.

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