Agenda item

Development of the Preventing Homelessness Strategy 2019-24

Report of the Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services


The Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services submitted a report (previously circulated) advising Members of the work being undertaken to develop a new Preventing Homelessness Strategy to cover the period 2019-24, which was being developed taking into account the changes that had been introduced through the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.

It was reported that the Strategy focussed on five key areas which reflected the current national and local policy context of prevention by intervening at an earlier stage and ensuring that there were the right types and levels of housing and support available to reduce the risk of homelessness.  This was an area which was included in the Council’s current strategy and would continue a path that the Council had already adopted with positive results.

The Assistant Director, Housing and Building Services reported that there had been an increase of 94 applicants approaching the Council for assistance between 2016/17 and 2017/18, however the numbers going on to make a homelessness application had reduced and this was attributed to the success of the preventative work undertaken once an applicant had approached the Council for assistance.

Discussion ensued on the number of programmes to ensure that no-one in Darlington needed to sleep rough, including programmes that intervened at an early stage to avoid the crisis of losing a home.

Reference was made to a recent rough sleeper count which found only three people were sleeping rough in Darlington, all of whom refused assistance when approached and it was reported that support would continue to be available to them.

Members expressed concern that begging in the Town Centre was association with homelessness, and were advised that this was not the case.  The Council’s Housing Options Service ensured that anyone who was found to be begging was approached to see what assistance could be given to them and they had found that virtually all those begging in the Town had a home and work was on-going to address the begging issued through a multi-agency approach.

RESOLVED – That the update be noted and that the full draft Strategy be submitted to the next ordinary meeting of this Scrutiny Committee scheduled for 12 March 2019.


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