Wokingham Borough Council is committed to supporting those at risk of homelessness and people who sleep rough. The council moves closer to adopting a new strategy to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in the borough at their 23 December Executive meeting.
The impacts of homelessness can be devastating for individuals and families. Homelessness can affect everything - health, education and employment. Homelessness can have long term consequences for those affected. Tackling homelessness and reducing rough sleeping are a key concern for the Council.
The strategy has four key priorities: early intervention and prevention; working towards ending rough sleeping and tackling hidden homelessness (people who become homeless but are staying with friends or family); building more affordable homes; and supporting our vulnerable residents.
To address these priorities, the council is proposing to work with long-term rough sleepers, look closely at the hidden homeless in the borough and reduce its use of emergency and temporary accommodation for the homeless.
The draft strategy focuses on early intervention and prevention, working with partner organisations in the borough, exploring options for the development of a pilot Housing First (or similar) scheme, assessing hidden homelessness and addressing rough sleeping, refreshing the policy that sets out how the council allocates its social housing, building new affordable homes and supporting vulnerable residents.
The council held a public consultation on the draft strategy in September 2019.
“Whilst we are lucky that homelessness is low across the Borough, if you are homeless it is devastating. Homelessness can affect everything -- health, education and employment,” said John Kaiser, executive member for finance and housing.
“Homelessness can have long term consequences for those affected. As a result, reducing homelessness and rough sleeping is a key priority for the council.
“Having a home should be a basic human right. That’s why we at the council prioritise so highly tackling homelessness and ending rough sleeping.”
If approved by the executive at their 23 December meeting, the strategy will go to council on 23 January 2020.
For information on how to get advice if you or someone you know is or may become homeless, visit our website and search ‘homelessness’.
To contact the council for help on homelessness, phone 0118 974 6000 during office hours or 01344 786 543 after hours, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting the council offices at Shute End, Wokingham.
If you are aware of someone sleeping rough in the borough, let the council know by sending an alert to StreetLink. The details you provide will be sent to the council, who will use the information to find the individual, offer them support, and explore ways to find them accommodation.