Ambitious plan to end rough sleeping and improve the lives of the homeless

Published: 18 March 2019

Redbridge Council has set out an ambitious plan to improve the lives of those facing homelessness and end rough sleeping.

The strategy is expected to be approved by Cabinet tonight (18 March 2019) after a period of consultation with residents and partner organisations.

The council must outline its plans to improve the lives of those facing homelessness every five years.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness Cllr Farah Hussain said: “The rise in the most visible form of homelessness, rough sleeping, has been noticed across the country.  In Redbridge, we’re determined to not only tackle rough sleeping but end it once and for all.  

“We know that rough sleeping ruins lives and takes a terrible toll on mental and physical health, which is why we are working tirelessly to support those who find themselves on the streets.

“We can’t tackle this complex issue alone.  We will work alongside local voluntary and charity organisations to offer the right support and address the multiple needs people face to prevent street homelessness.

“Our support for the ground-breaking pop-up hostel ‘Project Malachi’ shows we are being bold in our efforts to wipe out rough sleeping for good.”

Amongst the other positive steps to end rough sleeping, the council has appointed a dedicated co-ordinator, tripled its outreach support, opened an additional shelter in Ilford and extended an existing programme to help find long-term stable accommodation and provide employment and training advice.

An immigration advisor has also been recruited to work non-EU nationals and further increase the council’s outreach work.

The Redbridge Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2018-2023 also sets out broader plans to tackle the issues for those living in temporary accommodation and to prevent homelessness occurring.

Welfare changes, historic underbuilding of affordable housing and the ongoing housing crisis means that thousands of Redbridge residents find themselves homeless without a permanent roof over their heads.

Cllr Hussain added: “We’re not satisfied with the current state of play and are determined to make a real and lasting change to ensure all our residents have the security, opportunity and quality of life they deserve. That’s why we have promised that at least 1000 affordable, quality homes in Redbridge will be built before 2022.

“We already have far fewer council homes than neighbouring boroughs and are currently forced to either rely on renting flats and B&Bs from private landlords to house our homeless residents or place people in hostel accommodation.

“To overcome the severe shortage of affordable housing we are investing £103.3m to deliver new council homes as well as £70m to buy 300 homes so that the council does not rely on privately rented accommodation. This is in addition to millions we have invested in temporary accommodation locally which means that more families can now stay local to their work, schools and networks if they find themselves homeless.”

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