Councillors will be asked to approve a public consultation on a new strategy to help reduce homelessness and rough sleeping when they meet next week.
Durham County Council’s Cabinet will be presented with a draft of the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy in a meeting at County Hall on Wednesday, October 11.
The strategy sets out the key areas the council will focus on to deliver the vision ‘Durham is a county where we all work together to eradicate homelessness and rough sleeping and where everyone has a safe place to call home’.
The council is now hoping to seek views on the proposed four priorities which have been developed following a consultation earlier in the year.
The priorities are:
• Prevent people from becoming homeless.
• Improve access to and supply of accommodation.
• Ensure the appropriate support is available for people who are homeless.
• Reduce rough sleeping.
Cllr Alan Shield, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for equality and inclusion, said: “Homelessness can lead people, and their families and friends, into a cycle that can have a profound effect on all aspects of life.
“It is not just a lack of accommodation; homelessness can affect our physical and mental health and wellbeing, educational achievement, ability to gain and sustain employment and puts pressure on personal and family relationships.
“The impact of homelessness can devastate lives, and it is often a long journey for an individual to build their life up again.
“The draft strategy highlights the challenges that we face as a housing authority and details how we will tackle the complex causes of homelessness by focusing on prevention and early intervention.”
If approved, County Durham residents, key partners and stakeholders will be invited to have their say on the draft strategy when it goes out to consultation at the end of the month.
The consultation will be live for a period of seven weeks, from October 30 to December 18, and will run alongside the consultation on the draft Housing Strategy Consultation.
The final version of the strategy will be brought back to Cabinet in March 2024 for approval.