Homelessness Prevention and Rough Sleeper Strategy

Priority 1: Make homelessness a rare occurrence by focusing on prevention and early intervention

Why is this important?

The prevention of homelessness is a national and local priority, and the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 has meant that the Council needs to take a proactive approach to help people at risk of homelessness, to sustain tenancies and prevent them from becoming homeless again.

Many people approaching the Council are already in crisis before they approach the homelessness service. This provides limited time to resolve their housing situation and therefore increases demand for emergency temporary accommodation.

By focusing on more early homelessness prevention, we can help people to remain in their homes, or to find a new home without experiencing homelessness. We want to stop homelessness before it happens and where it cannot be avoided it is important to ensure that it is a rare occasion.

Man reading statement


What we have done so far:

  • 76% of homeless cases were resolved within 56 days between April 2021 – March 2022, of which 26% were at the prevention stage.
  • We improved access to information, providing more help and advice to help prevent homelessness. This included publishing a handbook information booklet called H.O.M.E (Helping Others Made Easy).
  • We have improved the coordination to hospital discharges, ensuring that there is a housing plan for everyone and reducing time spent in hospital.
  • We have increased early homelessness prevention awareness for young people with learning difficulties by funding additional Early Help workers in Children’s Services to support families at risk.
  • We have worked closely with our colleagues in Children’s Services to develop a housing pathway, giving them a choice about where they live and support to enable them to sustain their housing.
  • We have funded the development of an online Tenancy Training Programme.

Over the next 3 years:

  • We will increase targeted early prevention activities, including to low-income households who need advice with debt and budget management who may be struggling through the cost-of-living crisis.
  • We will continue to carry out Council tenancy health checks with welcome visits to identify any support needs for intervention.
  • We will improve communications and engagement with private landlords so that we can intervene sooner where there is a risk of eviction.
  • We will strengthen the Adult Social Care Pathway by improving the coordination and integration of support services around individuals and families to recognise the impacts of recurring instances of homelessness (including trauma) and act to prevent these where possible, adopting multi-disciplinary approaches which are focused on the best interest of the person.
  • Victims of Domestic Abuse presenting as homeless will continue to be provided with a specialist Domestic Abuse and Housing Support Officer at the first point of contact.
  • We will review the 16/17-year-old joint protocol with Children’s and Young People’s service to prevent homelessness amongst young people.
  • We will review what resources are linked to the First Response service to support families in crisis.
  • We will continue to improve pathways into sustainable housing for Care Leavers.

Impact Measures:

  • Increase the number of homelessness cases resolved at the prevention stage
  • Increase the proportion of homelessness cases opened and resolved within 56 days from 76% to 80% by March 2024 (Target to be reviewed annually)
  • Reduced number of households reapproaching the homelessness service within 12 months of their homelessness being resolved.

Mum with baby getting advice