WILTSHIRE Council has launched a three-month consultation on how to tackle the problem of homelessness in the county in the long term.

As part of the consultation, the council is asking for views on its new actions and priorities to help support those who are homeless or threatened with homelessness, to help them secure and keep a good home.

In Wiltshire, the main causes of homelessness are the termination of tenancies, being asked to leave a property by family/friends and relationship breakdown.

Rough sleepers face a number of hardships, including higher risk of long term physical ill health (41 per cent of rough sleepers, compared to 28 per cent of the general population), a lower life expectancy and an increased likelihood of being admitted to hospital.

The consultation is seeking views on five priorities from the council, which are:

• Reducing rough sleeping

• Identifying and preventing homelessness at the earliest possible stage

• Ensuring services are designed to prevent homelessness and support those who are homeless.

• Ensuring those who are threatened with homelessness or who are homeless can secure and keep a suitable home.

• Maintaining effective strategic direction and partnership working

Each priority has a number of actions. These include increasing street outreach, developing a resettlement support service, and ensuing there is more housing available to help the homeless.

Ashley O’Neill, portfolio holder for housing, said: “We are making real progress in tackling homelessness in Wiltshire, but we can never be complacent – we always need to do more”

“We need to think creatively, deliver a wide range of services and have effective, strong, partnership working to prevent homelessness, and provide the homeless with support to tackle the cause of their homelessness.”

“This strategy will rely on stakeholders and the communities in Wiltshire and we would like people to let us know their views so we can all make a positive impact on preventing homelessness into the future.”

The strategy has been informed by Wiltshire Council’s Homelessness Review 2018 and Homeless Health Needs Assessment.

It also follows the national Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, which introduced a new legal duty on specified public services to refer customers who may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to a local housing authority.

Click here to access the consultation.