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Have your say: Homelessness under the spotlight in West Devon

9 February 2022

Newly constructed affordable homes in South Tawton

West Devon Borough Council is asking for local views on plans to prevent and relieve homelessness.

A recent report to the Hub committee highlighted that single and couples households, families, and people with additional needs are all at high risk of homelessness and must be prioritised alongside rough sleepers. Now the Council want to know what local people think. A public consultation on how the borough should tackle homelessness will start on 9 February 2022 and run for six weeks until 23 March 2022

You can have your say here: www.westdevon.gov.uk/homelessness-strategy-2022

The Council's current Homelessness Strategy is now due for review. A preliminary consultation with councillors took place at the start of 2022 to discuss ways to effectively prevent and relieve homelessness in the area. Working with partners to put the necessary support in place to prevent people from becoming homeless remains a significant focus. The plans also highlight the need to ensure there are enough of the right sort of homes available to meet the diverse needs of people at risk of homelessness.

The Homelessness Strategy public consultation will give local people the opportunity to share their views. This will mean the Council can be confident the proposed plans cover the right priorities and will meet the needs of everyone in the community.

A spokesperson for West Devon Borough Council explained: "When you say 'homeless,' many of us automatically think about people sleeping rough. However, a great many people access our services because they are unable to afford their current home or have been asked to leave through no fault of their own.  Many of these people then struggle to find a home that is affordable for them and face the prospect of having nowhere to go. The Council is working to increase the number of properties locally available at below market rate to ease this issue.

"We work extensively with people who are rough sleeping or sofa surfing and at risk of rough sleeping. Working with multiple agencies, this approach finds a suitable long-term home for someone who is homeless. It also significantly increases their chances of keeping the accommodation and making positive life choices. While not everyone chooses to take up this offer, the mix of intensive support, outreach work and open offer of accommodation has resulted in low numbers of people sleeping rough in the Borough. At our last rough sleeper count in November 2021, we were pleased to once again find no one sleeping rough.

"Whether you have been homeless, at risk of homelessness or have concerns for friends or family who may be at risk, please do spend a few minutes to share your views in our consultation. We want to make sure every view is heard and represented, so our plans meet local needs and so no one finds themselves without a roof over their heads."

More details on the proposals and a quick questionnaire where you can share your views can now be found at www.westdevon.gov.uk/homelessness-strategy-2022

The consultation will close on 23 March.

It is anticipated that a final draft of the strategy will be presented in early Spring, with formal adoption from April 2022.

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