Summit focused on homeless issue - The Evesham Observer

Summit focused on homeless issue

Evesham Editorial 3rd Mar, 2018   0

A MAJOR summit on homelessness saw council chiefs focus on stepping up efforts to tackle the problem ahead of the introduction of new Government legislation which will demand more action from local councils.

The summit, which took place on February 16 and was hosted by Wychavon, brought together other housing partners from across South Worcestershire including Wychavon and Malvern Hills District Councils, Worcester City Council, Worcestershire County Council, Rooftop Housing and Fortis Living.

St Paul’s Hostel and Citizens Advice Bureau were also part of the summit, at which the main focus was on hearing about the changes taking place due to the Homelessness Reduction Act, which will officially come into force in April.

Nicola Forsdyke, Homelessness Advisor at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, gave an overview of the Act and how it will be implemented. This included the new duties that councils will be undertaking to improve the prevention and the relief of homelessness.

Meanwhile, Jean Templeton, the Chief Executive of St Basils – the West Midlands charity working with young people who are homeless or at risk of coming homeless – spoke about the impact of the Act on young people and the aim to establish a local multi-agency approach for those in crisis so they get the help they need, when they need it.

Attendees also heard from Rooftop Housing Group Chief Executive, Boris Worrall, who spoke about the importance of partnership working and how there needs to be a focus on the commitment of all agencies working together, especially as cuts have been seen across a great deal of services making a joined up approach ever more important.

Coun Richard Morris, portfolio holder for housing at Wychavon District Council, said: “For local authorities, this is one of the biggest changes there has been in housing and to the work we do to help homeless people in over 20 years.

It puts a bigger emphasis on us preventing homelessness, which means we will now have more responsibilities to help people at risk at a much earlier stage and for a longer period of time.

“More than 65 partners attended from a wide range of agencies and organisations and great ideas were discussed on effective partnership working and possible creative solutions, such as flats above shops, student type accommodation for use by young people and support for rural households to prevent social isolation.

“There is no doubt that close partnership working in both preparation and implementation will be vital to us ensuring that we continue to see a decline in the amount of homeless people in Wychavon and wider South Worcestershire.”

Anyone with concerns about being made homeless can call 01386 565020 or by e-mailing [email protected]

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