Shropshire Star

Council plan to help homeless is 'huge step forward'

Shropshire Council could consider developing an “urgent assessment centre” for people facing homelessness as part of a new plan to tackle rough sleeping.


Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276

At a meeting at Shirehall on Wednesday, April 17, councillors agreed to press ahead with the new homelessness prevention strategy, which sets out how the council will work to prevent rough sleeping over the next five years.

The draft document includes plans to explore the creation of an urgent assessment centre which would act as both emergency accommodation and a central hub for support services.

The strategy, which focuses on early intervention and prevention measures, also includes longer term plans to end the use of Bed and Breakfasts to provide emergency support.

Portfolio holder for Housing Dean Carroll paid tribute to council officers who had worked on the “high-quality” strategy which he said was a “huge step forward” for the county.

“One of the most important elements is its recognition of partnership working across both public and charitable sector, in terms of what levers we as a local authority and also out partners around the county and beyond can pull in terms of reducing the risks of homelessness and rough sleeping,” he said.

“It’s also a strategy which has been pulled together with the complexities in mind of each individual circumstance around homelessness and rough sleeping and the importance of not treating every case the same.

“This is an extremely important document that has taken a degree of time to come forward. Whilst we haven’t had the strategy in place we’ve still been working extremely hard and the team has been dedicating its time and effort to dealing with the challenges presented by homelessness and rough sleeping on the front line rather than prioritising the document.”

“Nothing is more important that the support for people at risk of and experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping and that’s the approach that we have taken.”

Speaking in support of the council’s strategy, Ludlow North Councillor Andy Boddington said moves to co-ordinate support for mental health issues with rough sleeping services were also an important step.

“It’s all about mental health, it’s always about mental health and it’s vital to have those services in the same team,” he said.

“I first stood up in the chamber ten years ago to say that the council punched above its weight when it came to rough sleeping at a time when many councils ignored it.

“In those ten years, rough sleeping has changed tremendously, it’s got more volume but also it’s got more complex. The needs are more complex and our understanding of them has grown.”

Shropshire Council will now launch an eight-week consultation on its plans, which it says will include both the public and third sector organisations and housing associations in the county.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.