Council sets out plans to prevent homelessness and end rough sleeping in Tower Hamlets

Housing and homelessness team Q and A

The council has launched a strategy to inform the next five years of its work to prevent homelessness and end rough sleeping.

Mayor John Biggs welcomed specialists from within the council and from partner organisations to the Tramshed Community Hub in Bethnal Green to unveil the strategy and to explore how, through partnership working, it can be implemented in the most effective way.

Mayor Biggs said: “Tackling homelessness is among the most important but challenging tasks facing the council.

“The strategy launched this week builds on a number of recent successes – we’ve seen a fall in the number of people becoming homeless thanks to our early intervention programmes and our annual street count showed that our work on rough sleeping has led to a significant reduction.

“We are firm in our commitment to preventing homelessness and ultimately ending rough sleeping in Tower Hamlets.”

Among the recent positive achievements are:

  • A reduction in homeless families housed in bed and breakfasts including no families in bed and breakfasts over Christmas.
  • Supported housing for 1,728 vulnerable single people.
  • New rough sleeping initiatives such as a street psychotherapist, a street nurse and a mental health professional embedded with our outreach teams.
  • 1,785 permanent homes for homeless households in council and other social housing.
  • The Private Renters Charter to protect tenants from rogue agents and landlords.
  • Establishment of the Housing Advice Team to support tenants when they need it most.
  • 109 successful interventions to protect tenants from eviction since November 2017.
  • Intervening to ensure 303 domestic violence victims can stay in their homes.

The council understands that homelessness doesn’t happen overnight and that there are many points along an individual’s housing journey where effective interventions could be the difference between ending up on the streets or a future in secure housing for the long term.

That is why the new strategy prioritises not only the way services respond to those who have become homeless, but also the measures that can be taken to prevent homelessness in the first place.

It advocates the continued supply of new affordable homes that meet the needs of those on the housing waiting list, the return of empty homes to use and the continued rollout of a multi-agency approach to intervention programmes that are both effective and sustainable.

Cllr Sirajul Islam, Statutory Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “I was delighted to help launch our new homelessness and rough sleeping strategy. It was fantastic to see so many partner organisations come together and to hear the constructive discussions about collaborative working that were taking place.

“Our strategy brings together new ideas with existing programmes. It is an approach that I am confident will see us continue to make a life changing impact for some of the most vulnerable in our borough.”

Read the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2018-23.
Posted on Thursday 31st January 2019