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Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2020 - 2025
The Council has a duty under the Homelessness Act 2002 to conduct a review of the nature and extent of homelessness in its District every 5 years and to develop a strategy setting out how services will be delivered in the future to tackle homelessness and the available resources to prevent and relieve homelessness.
Our current Homelessness Strategy runs until 2021 but it has been necessary to review it earlier due to the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 and the new requirement for local authorities to incorporate within their Homelessness Strategies a special focus on rough sleeping.
The Homelessness Reduction Act is a major change in homelessness legislation and came into force in April 2018. It places new legal duties on local housing authorities so that everyone who is homelessness or at risk of homelessness will have access to early meaningful help, irrespective of their priority need status, so long as they are eligible for assistance.
On 13 August 2018, the Government published a new national Rough Sleeping Strategy which sets out its vision to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminate it all together by 2027. It required all local authorities in England to update their homelessness strategies and rebadge them as homelessness and rough sleeper strategies by the end of 2019.
In developing the new Strategy, a comprehensive review of homelessness in the district was undertaken and an 8 week consultation with residents, partner organisations and stakeholders was carried out. The key issues identified by the review and the responses to the consultation were used to inform and develop the strategic objectives/priorities for the new Strategy.
The overall aim is to deliver an accessible service to prevent homelessness and assist homeless households in finding long term affordable and sustainable housing. The Council is committed to working with partners in the statutory and voluntary sectors and with residents themselves to achieve this goal.
The strategic objectives identified in the Strategy are:
Preventing and relieving homelessness
The Council’s focus is on the prevention and relief of homelessness. Its objectives are to prevent homelessness at an early stage and, where this is not possible, to support homeless households and those in housing need to secure suitable affordable housing.
Minimise the use of and improve temporary accommodation
The Council recognises that being in temporary accommodation can be a very stressful and negative experience, particularly when placed outside the district away from their support network, health care providers, place of employment and schools. The Council aims to provide more good quality temporary accommodation within the district and to enable households to move through temporary accommodation into a settled home as soon as possible.
Prevent recurring homelessness
The Council is committed to preventing previous households from becoming homeless again wherever possible.
Tackle rough sleeping and homelessness amongst vulnerable groups
The reported number of people sleeping rough within the district is low, for 2019 the reported figure for Mid Sussex for the annual Rough Sleeper count was 8. Despite the low numbers, the Council believes that no-one should have to sleep rough and it is therefore a priority to ensure that there is sufficient provision in place to provide effective support to anyone doing so. The Council also recognises the importance of ensuring that vulnerable groups are provided with the appropriate support to prevent them from becoming homeless and to enable them to remain in their current homes where they are likely to have established support networks and community links.
Enable access to suitable and affordable accommodation
It is important that a range of suitable and affordable accommodation is available to meet the differing housing needs of the residents of Mid Sussex. It is recognised that the demand for social housing outweighs the supply and that home ownership and private rents are not affordable for residents on low incomes.
The Strategy includes an Action Plan for delivery against each strategic objective detailing how the objectives will be achieved.
The draft Mid Sussex Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2020-25, is due to go to the Scrutiny Committee for Housing, Planning and Economic Growth on 22 January 2020 and Council for approval on 1 April 2020.
You can view the Strategy and Review documents here: