New strategy to help East Devon’s homeless

A new strategy aims to reduce homeless in East Devon and improve the health and wellbeing of rough sleepers.

The plan is expected to replace existing frameworks later this year and be in operation until 2023.

Already supported by the council at Cabinet level, the strategy is a statutory requirement set out in the Homelessness Act 2002.

East Devon District Council hopes to set up a steering group to implement changes, designed to maximise outcomes and stop people from ending up with nowhere to go.

Once the strategy is finalised, an action plan will be put together that clearly sets out its goals and objectives.

At a recent meeting of the council’s Housing Review Board, it was revealed that the council has purchased a house of multiple occupation to provide temporary accommodation.

It was further announced that two successful bids had been made to combat rough sleeping. However, the details of those bids are currently being ‘refined’ as they are joint projects with other authorities.

One way forward was the designation of two to three EDDC properties being used for this purpose, the meeting heard.

It was agreed that the Portfolio Holder would be kept up to date with progress being made and that decisions and approval may need to be sought prior to the next Housing Review Board meeting.

The Board was also informed of a recent bid for the provision of a specialist mental health support worker to assist with tenancy sustainment work.

Councillors were told: “We say in the strategy that there is no typical homeless household, they are all very different, and so there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach that is appropriate. We need an approach that is quick to respond, empathetic and achieves the desired outcome or purpose – Right People in the Right Home.”

East Devon District Council’s previous strategy on homelessness expired last year. Since then, the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 has come into force.

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