Council approves new homelessness strategy
16 February, 2023
A new strategy to reduce homelessness and sleeping rough in Sunderland has been approved by the city's ruling cabinet today [Thursday, March 16].
Sunderland City Council's Homelessness Reduction and Sleeping Rough Strategy 2023-2028 sets out a new city-wide approach to preventing homelessness, to help those at risk to access support and enable them to move on to a permanent home to reduce instances of repeat homelessness.
The council has also developed new partnerships to prevent homelessness, promoting early intervention and taking a joined-up approach to identify the issues that lead to people losing their homes. The new strategy also focuses on improving temporary accommodation and the move-on offer in the city - where residents live in supported housing as they take steps towards independent living.
Cllr Kevin Johnston, dynamic city cabinet member at Sunderland City Council, said: "Homelessness and rough sleeping are really complex issues, and one we are dedicated as a council to tackling. That means we need to proactively address the reasons for homelessness to prevent it rather than just intervene when someone has no roof over their head. This strategy, which is responsive to the specific challenges we face in Sunderland - has been created in collaboration with key partners to achieve the best possible outcomes and will ensure that we are as proactive as possible in supporting our residents."
Sunderland City Council rolled out its last homelessness strategy in 2019, however within a few months of the strategy being launched, COVID-19 hit and changed how the authority was able to respond. The new plan builds on the previous strategy, but responds to the changing needs of people in the city since the pandemic.
Cllr Johnston added: "No one should face life without a roof over their head, and we want to work proactively to ensure that where we can, we provide support to prevent that, and where it's a reality, that we rapidly respond to it.
"We are working hand in hand - through strong partnerships - with the voluntary, faith, and community sectors to deliver holistic support that focuses on the person's needs.
"By bringing together organisations with complementary skills to not only deal with homelessness, but to help deal with the range of issues that cause it, we can more effectively identify people at risk of rough sleeping and intervene to provide the help they need, as early as possible."
The themes of prevention, intervention and recovery are geared towards the city's local needs, identified by a service and strategy review, and align to the Government's 'End Rough Sleeping for Good' policy that aims to 'level up communities and intensify efforts to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.'