A key document setting out how Huntingdonshire District Council intends to address homelessness issues within the district has been approved at a Cabinet meeting held on 12 October 2017. The Huntingdonshire Homelessness Strategy, a sub-strategy of the wider Housing Strategy, has four main purposes:
- to address the causes of homelessness in the area
- to introduce initiatives to prevent homelessness wherever possible
- to ensure that the council provides sufficient temporary accommodation for those households that are, or may become homeless
- to ensure that appropriate support is available for people who have previously experienced homelessness in order to prevent it happening again.
The Strategy sets out the key role that the council plays in preventing homelessness, helping households where homelessness cannot be prevented and how homelessness can be resolved, primarily by ensuring that there are sufficient options within the private or social rented sectors to provide new homes. The Strategy includes a plan of the actions that the council will deliver to help achieve these aims.
Cllr Ryan Fuller, Executive Councillor for Housing and Planning, said: "Huntingdonshire District Council recognises that early help, support and intervention are key to preventing homelessness. We already help those who are facing court action for eviction, providing loans and offering discretionary payments to support people in financial difficulties. We also work with other support organisations such as Citizens Advice or debt management charities.
"We have also been successful with a Homelessness Trailblazer project, a partnership of other local authorities and public sector organisations, with over £770,000 of central government funding awarded across Cambridgeshire. This is a very exciting and innovative project and although these are early days, we are encouraged by progress so far. This project focuses on spotting early warning signs and co-ordinating the various agencies to enable them to intervene earlier and provide support to help prevent homelessness in the first place. The project also works with private sector landlords to help resolve problems and avoid action leading to eviction.
"We are also working to develop long-term planning solutions to housing pressures and the council’s recently approved Housing Strategy contains a number of measures to ensure that where development occurs in the district we ensure a balanced mix of properties and tenures – something that’s vital in offering our residents a home in our district."