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Council’s bid to tackle homelessness as rough sleepers triple

PUBLISHED: 08:35 05 February 2020 | UPDATED: 08:35 05 February 2020

Breckland Council is reviewing its homelessness policy. Picture: Getty Images

Breckland Council is reviewing its homelessness policy. Picture: Getty Images

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The number of rough sleepers in Breckland has more than tripled in the last year as a council reviews its homelessness strategy in an attempt to tackle the issue.

Breckland Council is reviewing its homelessness policy. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA WireBreckland Council is reviewing its homelessness policy. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

In the district council's homelessness review 2019, it was found that rough sleeping in the area, which includes Dereham, Attleborough, Swaffham, Watton and Thetford, has increased from five in 2018, to 16 in 2019.

The independent report has found that out of 500 residents that contacted the council, 465 were entitled to support as they were either at risk of becoming homeless or were already homeless and in need of secure accommodation.

Out of the 465, 37pc became homeless or were close to it because family or friends were not willing to support them and 40pc were single parents.

St Martins Housing Trust helps the homeless build a better life and find secure housing.

Breckland Council is reviewing its homelessness policy. Picture: Ian BurtBreckland Council is reviewing its homelessness policy. Picture: Ian Burt

Dr Jan Sheldon, chief executive of St Martins, said: "Part of St Martins' work in the community is to support people in their own homes who are at risk of becoming homeless.

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"Often these are isolated people with poor mental health, some of whom have addictions and may struggle to maintain their tenancies."

Breckland has highlighted four areas to improve over the next five years which will go to councillors on Thursday, February 6.

It wants to improve access to early housing advice and prevention services by making information more accessible, introducing home visits and install a new computer system.

The government's goal is to end rough sleeping by 2027, Breckland hopes to contribute to this by working with a number of groups and sharing information about rough sleeping.

The council wants to reduce the dependency on bed and breakfasts by working with housing associations to let properties that could be used temporary and prioritise one and two bedroom homes in new developments.

New partnerships will also be formed in specialist areas such as mental health and domestic abuse.

A Breckland Council spokesperson said: "We have already delivered on the majority of the recommendations from the review.

"We have also recently received £106,000 from central government to help reduce rough sleeping in our local community."


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