Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Local People Urged To Have Their Say On Plans To Combat Homelessness

Plans to build on existing work to combat homelessness in South Cambridgeshire over the next five years are out for consultation – and local residents are being urged to have their say.

The plans have been drafted by South Cambridgeshire District Council following a district-wide homelessness review, and set out the Council’s priorities from now until 2018 to try to prevent residents becoming homeless and bolster services for those who do find themselves without a place to live.

Successful schemes already run by the Council to stop people becoming homeless include investing £1million to bring empty homes back into use as temporary accommodation, ongoing partnerships with housing associations to build new homes for local people and the start of its biggest building programme of new Council-owned homes in two generations – forecast to provide over 200 new affordable homes for local people over the next 10 years.

Help and advice is also in place to help residents affected by the recent changes to housing and council tax benefit, including assistance to find more affordable accommodation.

The new plans suggest six key themes to prevent homelessness:
  • offering advice and support about finances and budgeting
  • access to local, affordable private rented sector housing
  • providing homes for single people, especially those with additional needs
  • focusing on homelessness prevention for residents with mental health problems
  • improving the way information is delivered through social media and other formats
  • increasing the amount of good quality temporary accommodation.
The consultation will run from Monday 15 July to Friday 4 October. Information can be read online at www.scambs.gov.uk/homelessnessconsultation or hard copies can be requested by calling 03450 450 051.

A public forum to gather the views of local voluntary organisations and housing associations is also planned from 9am to 1pm on Wednesday 18 September. Members of the public are welcome to attend and can register a place by contacting Julie Fletcher on 03450 450 051 or Julie.fletcher@scambs.gov.uk

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s portfolio holder for housing, Cllr Mark Howell, said: “Homelessness can have a devastating effect on individuals, families and communities. It’s important that we help people facing or experiencing homelessness to find settled accommodation, and these plans will boost our existing work to do just that.

“House prices, private rent levels and ongoing welfare reforms have all had an impact on local levels of homelessness. This is a district-wide issue that requires a district-wide response and I would urge as many people as possible to get involved and have their say.”

All comments received will be considered by the Council in its final Homelessness Strategy which will considered for approval in October 2013.