Council launches Homelessness Review and Strategy 2012+

By on 27/01/2012 in News

Birmingham City council has launched its 2012+ homelessness strategy after completing a thorough review of homelessness in the city.

The focus of the strategy is preventing homelessness and enabling those without a home to secure settled accommodation. The proposals not only include council services, but those provided by other organisations that work with people who are homeless.

The previous strategy, adopted in 2008, has delivered a number of benefits with its innovative approach to tackling rough sleeping and collaborative work to improve hostels.  The council has also responded to the problems in the housing market by assisting people with mortgage arrears and more recently has established a Youth Hub in partnership with St Basils, to provide a holistic service to young people who are threatened with homelessness.

The new strategy  includes actions to further improve services and includes:

To better manage the use of temporary accommodation - sustaining the major reduction in the use of bed and breakfast that has already been achieved.

Making use of suitable quality accommodation in the private rented sector to meet housing need.

Further improve housing advice services following the introduction of four dedicated housing advice centres: each serving a different area of the city.

Placing specialist domestic violence workers in each of our housing advice centres – this recognises that this issue is a major cause of homelessness in the city.

Cllr John Lines, Birmingham City Council's Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “The issue of homelessness is a major concern to us all.  We have made progress in this area, but there's still work to be done which is set out in our Strategy and shows our plans for 2012 and beyond.  Homelessness is a Council priority and the Strategy will be reported to full Council in April.

“We are working against a backdrop of growing unemployment, a troubling economic climate and family fragmentation.  And although Birmingham is bucking the trend by building new council homes, we've still seen a reduction in the amount of new private housing being built.

“Prevention is better than cure, and our plans will help to prevent homelessness in the city.  The review of our last strategy demonstrates the hard work that has been done.  I applaud all of our partners who have helped to prevent homelessness across the city.”

Birmingham City Council has prevented 4,810 households from becoming homeless in 2010/11 by helping them to secure alternative accommodation or to remain living in their current home.  This is the highest number of preventions amongst all of the core cities (Manchester - 2,037; Leeds - 2,482; Sheffield - 322; Bristol - 1,788; Liverpool - 999; Newcastle - 2,352).

The Council is also working to increase the supply of new homes and, in partnership with the Homes and Communities Agency and Registered Providers, over 2,900 new affordable homes have been developed since 2008.

For media enquiries only contact Karen Blanchette on 0121 303 6969.  For any other city council enquires call 0121 303 1111.

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