Dudley Council’s housing chief has today announced plans to tackle homelessness in Dudley borough.
In a new strategy, the council has set out its plans to prevent people becoming homeless, with an immediate and ongoing aspiration to have no rough sleepers on the borough’s streets.
The council will be looking at what more can be done to address the biggest issues facing local people which could put them at risk of losing their home, focusing on preventative measures and working with people and local organisations.
It has also outlined how it will build on existing prevention activities as well as what can be done to increase the supply of supported, specialist and affordable housing in the borough.
As part of this ambitious new vision, the council has also launched a new dedicated telephone number, to make it quicker and easier for people to report anyone they are concerned about who may be sleeping rough and to get help and advice.
People can call 0300 555 0030 and any reports will be dealt with by the council’s homeless team.
Councillor Keiran Casey, cabinet member for housing and residents welfare, said:
Homelessness is a complex issue and while we recognise that every individual’s circumstances are different, there are often common factors, which can lead to someone sleeping rough.
We take these issues extremely seriously and our focus has and will continue to be about prevention, ensuring that working with some of the great organisations we have locally, that people have the help and support they need so that there is never a need to resort to sleeping rough on our streets.
However, we know that for various reasons people do find themselves sleeping rough and there has undoubtedly been a shocking increase in rough sleepers across the UK in past 9 years, so it's our job to ensure that they have the help and support they need straight away.
The new strategy being launched is one that sets out clearly the preventative measures we want to see put in place to prevent homelessness, but also sets out what we want to do, working together with partners to ensure help and support is available for anyone that does find themselves sleeping rough. One of the most important things included in this new strategy is ensuring that anyone sleeping rough, but also local residents and businesses have the information about the help and support that is available, that's why we wanted to make sure we had a dedicated hotline for help and advice.
The key message with this strategy is to ensure that people have the help and support needed at the crucial time to stop further problems and sets out our ambition to have zero rough sleepers in our borough.
Emergency accommodation for rough sleepers and other single homeless people is provided in Dudley by Midland Heart at Saltbrook Place. In most local authorities, emergency accommodation is made available for all single people only when there is severe weather, but in Dudley this provision operates all year round, and Saltbrook Place has helped 120 people in this way over the past year.
The council’s homeless team also offers support to people at risk of losing their home, whether they own their own home, rent it, or even if they are living with family and friends. The team advises people to seek advice as soon as possible.
People can also report rough sleepers at www.streetlink.org.uk