Epsom & Ewell Borough Council has launched its Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy, setting out how it intends to meet the needs of residents who are homeless or at risk of homelessness over the next five years.
The Strategy details the Council’s strategic vision and key objectives to address homelessness within the borough. It focuses on a commitment to preventing homelessness at an earlier stage, and the importance of working with partners across all sectors to develop an integrated approach to tackling homelessness and rough sleeping.
A detailed review of homelessness in Epsom & Ewell was undertaken to inform the strategy, which helped to establish the extent of homelessness in the area, identify future trends and any gaps in the service currently being provided.
The Strategy identifies six key objectives which emphasise the importance of early intervention and prevention, as well as the development of new affordable housing in helping to meet the need of homeless people:
- The early identification, intervention & prevention of homelessness
- Reduce Rough Sleeping
- Increase accommodation options including social rented, private rented, supported and move on accommodation and in-borough temporary accommodation
- Improve the Health & Wellbeing of homeless people
- Ensuring sufficient support is available for homeless people
- Partnership working
Cllr Alex Coley, (Residents Association – Ruxley Ward) Chair of the Community and Wellbeing Committee, said: “The impact of homelessness cannot be underestimated. A home keeps you warm and safe, but it is so much more than just a roof. Homelessness leads to a significant reduction in emotional wellbeing, self-identity, social inclusion and life opportunities. Reducing homelessness in Epsom & Ewell will benefit everyone who lives in the borough.
“Over the past year we have expanded the Private Sector Leasing scheme, acquired an additional 14 emergency accommodation placements, and secured additional funding to enhance the East Surrey Outreach Service, who work with rough sleepers, but there is much more to be done. This Strategy will allow us to build on this progress to fully address the challenges local homeless people are facing, and ensure better outcomes for all.”
Commenting on the strategy Cllr Julie Morris (LibDem College Ward) said “We are particularly concerned with the increase in single people with mental health issues who require homes, so the integrated approach is really key here. There’s a shortage of homes for families with children and private landlords can help here. There are some incredibly dedicated council officers who are charged with implementing this strategy and councillors will support them as much as they can.”
- The Homelessness Act 2002 places a duty on every local authority to develop and publish a Homelessness Strategy, setting out how the local authority intends to tackle and prevent homelessness in their area.
- The strategy must be based on a review of all forms of homelessness within that local authority’s area and should be reviewed at least every five years. The Council carried out six weeks consultation between 12 July and 23 August 2022 with a range of stakeholders, service users, staff and residents.
- Central to reducing homelessness within the borough is increasing the amount of affordable housing available. The Council is currently developing a Draft Local Plan which is due to go out for public consultation on 1 February 2023, and proposals for affordable housing in the borough will form part of the Plan.
- In Epsom & Ewell and nationally the 3 main causes of homelessness are:
- Asked to leave by family and friends
- Termination of Assured Shorthold tenancies
- Domestic Abuse
- The full strategy can be found here:
Information provided by Epsom and Ewell Council. Cllr Morris quote obtained by Epsom and Ewell Times. Other parties were invited to comment.
In a vote dominated by abstentionism, a service-specific savings target of £243k to offset this year’s potential overspending for homelessness, was approved by Epsom and Ewell Borough Council last Tuesday. … READ MORE