Help to get rough sleepers off the street for good04 August 2020
Property and landowners are being urged to come forward to help councils across Worcestershire ensure homeless people and rough sleepers do not return to the streets, as lockdown restrictions are eased.
During the height of the covid-19 pandemic, the county’s six district, borough and city councils helped 137 people off the streets and into temporary accommodation.
The Government has now made separate funds of £105million and £161million available to local authorities to bid for to find long-term solutions.
The Worcestershire Homelessness Taskforce – made up of the six councils and other organisations - is looking at a range of options from buying up empty properties to creating new modular or prefabricated homes. These are built in sections in factories before being put together on location and can be built faster and cheaper than using traditional building methods.
The group urgently want to speak to landlords who own Houses of Multiple Occupation, private landlords with empty properties, property owners with homes they want to sell or rent out, or landowners with small parcels of land in locations across the county which could be used to build modular homes.
Anyone interested should contact David Griffiths, from Worcestershire County Council, by emailing Dgriffiths@worcestershire.gov.uk by 9 August 2020. Offers received will help the taskforce prepare its funding bid to the Government, which must be submitted by 20 August 2020.
Wyre Forest District Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Health, Well-being and Democratic Services, Councillor Nicky Martin said:
“It is paramount that we continue to support people beyond the pandemic so they do not have to return to living on the streets, but can continue to live in a safe environment and rebuild their lives in a positive way. I encourage landlords that may have properties available to get in touch.”
Stephen Gabriel, Chair of the Worcestershire Homelessness Taskforce, said: “Across the county, we have had tremendous success getting people off the streets temporarily while covid-19 was at its peak in the community. We agree with the Government that it’s not acceptable to simply send people back to a life of rough sleeping now circumstances have changed. This is a golden opportunity to find long-term, sustainable solutions but we cannot do it alone.
“We’re already working with our social housing providers and other organisations. Support from the private sector is also crucial. If you can help us then we want to hear from you as soon as possible.”
The Worcestershire Homelessness Taskforce is made up of Bromsgrove District Council, Malvern Hills District Council, Redditch Borough Council, Worcester City Council, Council, Wychavon District Council, Wyre Forest District Council, Worcestershire County Council, NHS and public health, West Mercia Police, homeless accommodation and support services and Cranstoun substance misuse.