Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) has launched their new Housing and Homelessness Strategy
The strategy highlights the importance of helping the homeless, after homelessness has skyrocketed nationally since 2010.
The report on the state of homelessness across the U.K makes for shocking reading.
There has been a 169% rise in recorded rough sleepers across England between 2010 and 2017, but many organisations suggest these figures are infact, even higher.
The report also blasts zero hours contracts as having "a negative impact on households attempting to maintain a tenancy" - which is cited as the main reason why people end up homeless.
The main reasons people end up homeless were identified as (ordered most prominent to least):
-> Loss of rented or tied accommodation
-> Parents no longer willing or able to accommodate
-> Other relatives or friends no longer willing or able to accommodate
Nationally. rough sleeping has increased from 2,181 in 2011 to 4,751 in 2017.
Aylesbury Vale figures reflect this, with numbers having doubled since 2011. The rough sleeping rate per 1000 households in Aylesbury Vale is marginally higher than national average of 0.20.
Despite this, Aylesbury Vale District Council claim they have been "extremely effective" in preventing homelessness.
Cllr Mark Winn, Cabinet Member for Communities, commented on the strategy:
“Supporting housing in Aylesbury Vale is arguably the most important thing we do as a local authority. And our newly-published Housing and Homelessness Strategy is a result of a wide-ranging consultation with our partners and residents, and I’d like to thank all those who took part.
“There has, and continues to be, some great work going on to prevent homelessness in the Vale, including 1,700 households prevented from being homeless in the last four years, and the delivery of over 1,546 new affordable homes (the third highest number of homes throughout England) over the last five years.
“On rough sleeping, I’ve spoken extensively to those involved and I’ve also been out with the team at 3am counting the number of rough sleepers. It’s clear to me that some inspiring work is going on together with our partners to help this under-privileged group sort out their often complex personal issues, so they can get back into a permanent home.
“However, many challenges remain ahead, such as the effect of welfare reform and the increasing affordability challenge of housing for residents in our area. Our new strategy sets out how AVDC (and the new unitary authority from next year) will need to consolidate and build on our successes to date, and sets out our plan to ensure those who wish to make their home in Aylesbury Vale can do so.”
The new plan was unanimously approved by the council in December 2018.
The strategy is designed to ensure those who want to make the Vale their home are supported and empowered to do so.
The strategy has four strategic priorities to help achieve this:
1. Prevent and reduce homelessness and rough sleeping.
2. Continue to facilitate and maximise the supply of affordable housing.
3. Respond to the ongoing challenges of welfare reform.
4. Contribute to the improvement of health and wellbeing services for people at risk of homelessness.
AVDC said: "We are already making headway in a challenging climate with nearly 1,700 households prevented from becoming homeless since April 2014. And the council will continue to strive towards the government target of eliminating rough sleeping completely by 2027, spearheaded by the Rough Sleepers Initiative.
"Additionally, AVDC was awarded nearly £500k for 2018-20 from the government to help reduce rough sleeping in Aylesbury Vale. This funding has already helped to reduce the number of rough sleepers in the Vale to single figures."