Our priority is to prevent people from losing their homes in the first place. Our aim is to make sure that anyone at risk of homelessness is aware of, and has access to the services they may need to prevent it.
We spend around £5.6 million a year on preventing homelessness, as well as supporting those who are homeless.
More people facing homelessness are contacting us than ever before and despite government cuts, we are managing to help more people. In 2019, the housing options team helped more than 3,600 households, including 1,500 families and 2,100 individuals, with advice and assistance to stay in their homes or find somewhere else to live.
The team help people to manage their finances, talk to their landlords, mediate between families and friends, putt them in touch with other services that could help them, and identify other suitable accommodation if all else fails.
As part of our five-year plan, we are already improving the homeless prevention advice available in the city, both online and from other sources. We recently launched the MyHOME app and website. People can use the online service to get simple advice and support from an officer to review cases.
We have dedicated officers to improve the links between housing and health, domestic violence services, the Job Centre, Prisons & Probation, and both adults & children’s social services.
We are also talking to private landlords about improving our access to private rented accommodation, including removing barriers that stop them renting to people on benefits, and only offering six-month tenancies.
If we can’t prevent people from losing their homes, or if people come to us who are already homeless, we have a range of services in place to help them.
We always try to find people suitable long-term accommodation straightaway. If we can’t, we have a hostel for families, and a 42-bed centre offering temporary accommodation and support for singles and couples called the Dawn Centre.
We also work with and fund a range of partners across the city that provide temporary accommodation and support for people who are homeless.