Members of the public are being asked to comment on a new strategy for tackling homelessness and rough sleeping in Stoke-on-Trent in a consultation which begins today (Thursday).
It comes at a time when recent partnership working in Stoke-on-Trent has seen the city council ranked as one of the top performing authorities in the country for preventing and relieving homelessness.* The new strategy, if agreed aims to build on this work.
The council has been awarded over £1m of government funding in the last two years to help tackle rough sleeping in the city with the city council and partners receiving recognition at the highest level for the innovative approaches that they have introduced.
All councils are required to review their current homelessness strategies and rough sleeping action plans during 2019. The new strategy needs to be introduced in 2020 and sets out the vision for support until 2025.
It has been drafted following a comprehensive review of homelessness in the city (during summer 2019) which gathered evidence about existing demand and services and identified challenges that still need to be addressed in relation to homelessness and rough sleeping.
A range of new measures and activities have already been introduced in the city including:
- A Rough Sleeper Co-ordinator is now in place to develop and build partnerships across Stoke-on-Trent and to ensure a joined-up approach to end rough sleeping
- Increased capacity for the rough sleeper outreach support service to provide wider coverage and extended hours of support citywide
- Move-on and supported lettings to help people move on from the street, hostels and supported housing offering secure, maintained and sustainable accommodation to prevent repeated homelessness
- Local lettings to provide tenancy support including landlord liaison, improved tenancy, homeless prevention support and increased access into the private rented sector for those moving on from temporary or emergency accommodation or straight from the street
- Peer mentor support to help increase engagement for rough sleepers from people who have been through similar issues. This means they can provide and promote positive activity to increase confidence and wellbeing
- An extended night shelter provision on a seven-day a week basis during the winter period to extend the severe winter emergency provision (SWEP) and response to support people rapidly away from the street
The proposed new strategy seeks to build on this work and to address all types of homeless needs in the city including people at risk of losing their home, 16 and 17 year olds who don’t have a secure home as well as vulnerable people who need support to get and keep suitable housing.
Cllr Randy Conteh, cabinet member for communities and safer city said: “This consultation aims to build on the brilliant work that has already been done in the city to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. It takes into account views that were given to us in the summer about what is and isn’t working well in how we support those who are homeless or who are most at risk of becoming homeless in the city.
“We’ve already made extremely positive progress in this area but there is always more to be done to make sure that we provide support in the right way to the right people. We want to be sure that as agencies we work together in the best possible way to benefit people in the city affected by this issue. It’s important people tell us what they think through the consultation so that we can be certain we’re using our resources in the most effective way and making the biggest difference to people’s lives.”
People can get involved in the consultation by filling in the online questionnaire or by contacting the council on 01782 234234.
For all media enquiries please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232671 (journalists only).