People in County Durham are being asked to share their views on draft strategies to reduce homelessness and improve housing in the county.
Durham County Council is encouraging residents, housing associations and other interested parties to have their say on the final drafts of its Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy for 2024 to 2029, and its Housing Strategy for 2024 to 2035.
The new Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy focusses on four main priorities – preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place; improving access to and supply of accommodation; ensuring the appropriate support is available for people who are homeless; and reducing rough sleeping.
The new Housing Strategy sets out the strategic direction for housing in County Durham and a vision to provide good quality housing that: meets everyone’s needs, is affordable for local people and supports the creation of great places to live.
Both draft strategies have been developed to include the views of partners in the housing sector and support organisations and the voluntary sector, as well as residents and people who have experienced housing issues or homelessness.
The council is now seeking further views on the drafts before they are presented to Cabinet members for approval in March 2024.
Cllr James Rowlandson, the council’s cabinet member for resources, investment and assets, including housing strategy, said: “Our homes are more than just the roofs over our heads. Good quality housing that is affordable and located in the right place, supports economic growth, helps to improve physical and mental health and wellbeing for our residents and improves the educational achievements of our children.
“It creates and maintains thriving communities where people live long and independent lives.
“It’s important that we get these plans right, so that we can improve people’s chance of a positive future.”
Cllr Alan Shield, the council’s cabinet member for equality and inclusion, including homelessness, said: “Homelessness can devastate lives, affecting people’s health, their ability to gain and sustain employment and putting pressure on relationships.
“Our strategy aims to address the many different factors that can lead to people losing their home, helping to break the cycle of homelessness that people can often become trapped in and supporting individuals to build their life up again.”
People can give their views in a number of ways, including:
- Online at durham.gov.uk/consultation
- By taking part in one of two virtual meetings, which can be booked via the web page above:
- Monday 13 November 2023 from 1.30pm to 3.00pm
- Monday 20 November 2023 from 6.00pm to 7.30pm
- By emailing comments to [email protected]
- At any of the council’s Customer Access Points.
The deadline for feedback is Monday 18 December 2023.