Homelessness plan backed by West Norfolk Council chiefs

At least six people are sleeping rough in the doorway of an abandoned office building in George Street, Aylesbury PNL-140729-163317001
At least six people are sleeping rough in the doorway of an abandoned office building in George Street, Aylesbury PNL-140729-163317001
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A four-year plan to tackle homelessness in West Norfolk has been backed by council leaders.

Members of the borough council’s cabinet approved officials’ strategy for dealing with the problem during a meeting on Tuesday.

The strategy was drawn up after figures last summer showed a steep rise in homelessness in the borough.

During 2013-14, a total of 106 households were accepted as having full statutory homeless duty, meaning the council has to house them, up 25 on the previous year.

The total of homeless applications also soared from 213 in 2012-13 to 336 in 2013-14, while more than 1,000 individuals and families sought support from housing officials.

Adrian Lawrence, portfolio holder for housing, said the plan was designed to prevent homelessness and to help people who do end up homeless to secure accommodation as quickly as possible.

He said there had been “general agreement” with the council’s analysis of the issue and their plans to deal with it when the document was consulted upon in the autumn.

Among the recommendations is a move to bring 40 empty homes back into use by the end of March, through a partnership with Freebridge Community Housing.

Alistair Beales, portfolio holder for regeneration, said: “It clearly is working. There’s much more to do but 40 properties brought back into use is significant.”