TACKLING the problem of homelessness in Reading is the subject of a public consultation which launches today (Monday 5th August).
Reading Borough Council is reviewing its current Homelessness Strategy and wants to hear the views of residents as well as a wide range of charities, voluntary groups and organisations.
The new strategy will set out how the Council and its partners will tackle and prevent homelessness over the next five years.
Significant changes to legislation and the Council’s success in reducing the number of households placed in emergency accommodation has led to the current strategy being reviewed early.
Informal meetings with internal and statutory partners have identified the following three key themes which people are being asked to comment on in the consultation:
· Priority 1 – Intervening early to prevent and reduce homelessness in Reading
· Priority 2 – Increasing access to decent, suitable accommodation
· Priority 3 – Supporting people who are vulnerable to recurring homelessness
The consultation will take place over eight weeks and will include residents, customers of Housing Needs and homelessness services, external partner organisations, community and voluntary sector services, local businesses and commissioned homelessness services.
The consultation can be found on the Council website at: https://consult.reading.gov.uk/dens/homelessness-strategy-consultation-2019-2024/
Cllr John Ennis, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Housing, said:
“The Council has achieved a lot since the current Homelessness Strategy was launched three years ago and there has also been some significant changes in legislation.
“Now is the right time to take stock of what has been achieved, look at where we are now and set our future path for tackling homelessness, which continues to be a major issue in Reading.
“Reading invests a large amount of resources into preventing homelessness and supporting those who find themselves homeless but the Council cannot act alone. I hope everybody with an interest in this important matter takes up the invitation to take part in this consultation.”
Over the last two years the Council has adopted a successful early intervention approach which has led to a dramatic reduction in the number of homeless households being placed in emergency bed and breakfast accommodation.
Almost 180 households were in emergency B&B accommodation in Reading three years ago but that figure has dropped to 10 or fewer since November 2018.
This achievement combined with changes in legislation, through the Homeless Reduction Act 2017, has prompted a review of Reading’s Homelessness Strategy.
Comments on the proposed new strategy can be made at: https://consult.reading.gov.uk/dens/homelessness-strategy-consultation-2019-2024/