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Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2022-2027

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Foreword

Everyone should have a safe place to call home. This home needs to be affordable and a settled base from which people can ultimately thrive. Despite this, a significant number of our residents are either made homeless, or live in the fear that they soon will be. This Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy sets out a clear vision to prevent and end homelessness, in all forms, in Gateshead over the next five years.

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Introduction

This strategy sets out Gateshead's vision for tackling homelessness and rough sleeping in the borough. The strategy covers our vision, values, principles and strategic aims. The Homelessness Act 2002 requires local housing authorities to take strategic responsibility for tackling and preventing homelessness and to formulate a homelessness strategy at least every five years. This homelessness and rough sleeping strategy has been developed using the findings of our recent homelessness review.

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Strategic context

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 legally obliges local authorities to assess and provide more meaningful assistance to all people who are eligible and homeless, or threatened with homelessness, irrespective of their priority need status. The focus of the Act is on prevention and places a duty on local authorities to intervene early and attempt to prevent homelessness. Where homelessness cannot be prevented, a new duty requires local authorities to relieve homelessness. This means that the local authority must help an individual find suitable accommodation with at least a six-month tenancy.

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Vision, values and principles

Our vision is to prevent and end homelessness, in all forms, in Gateshead. Our values are to deliver on the rights and needs of those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness; to listen to those with experience of homelessness; to enable a personalised approach; to provide high standards of communication, co-ordination and consistency in decisions; and to be fair and transparent. Our principles are to see potential, working with strengths; to listen, learn and respond through co-production; to work together inclusively; and "it's all about people".

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Strategic aims

Gateshead has four strategic aims for the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy. Aim 1: Make homelessness a rare occurrence. Aim 2: Where homelessness occurs, there will be positive outcomes for people. Aim 3: No-one sleeping rough or in unsuitable accommodation. Aim 4: Homelessness is a one-off occurrence. The key to achieving these aims is through partnership working. Gateshead is working towards a Connected Services Model to delivering housing and homelessness services.

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Aim 1: Make homelessness a rare occurrence

This strategic aim is about early intervention to prevent homelessness and make this event a rare occurrence. To ensure that we can target our interventions, we need to understand the causes of homelessness in Gateshead. As part of the process of developing this strategy, we have collected and analysed data for the homelessness review. The analysis of the data shows there are multiple causes of homelessness including domestic abuse, discharge from the armed forces, loss of employment, relationship breakdown, family disputes, mental health problems and substance misuse.

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Aim 2: Where homelessness occurs, there will be positive outcomes for people

This strategic aim is about intervening quickly to provide appropriate accommodation and support for those who are homeless. To achieve positive outcomes, the right accommodation and support will need to be provided at the right time. Gateshead currently has a combination of commissioned, non-commissioned and internally provided housing and support services. The homelessness review has identified that there is a lack of appropriate housing and support options for people with multiple complex needs and with challenging behaviours and lifestyles.

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Aim 3: No-one sleeping rough or in unsuitable accommodation

This strategic aim is about ending rough sleeping in Gateshead so that no-one is bedded down on the streets. It is also about intervening to prevent those who are at risk of rough sleeping ending up on the streets due to living in unsuitable accommodation. The number of people rough sleeping in Gateshead is very low. The street counts for the past two years have found zero rough sleepers. There is, however, a significant cohort who are at risk of rough sleeping and are part of the street population.

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Aim 4: Homelessness is a one-off occurrence

This strategic aim is about preventing repeat homelessness and breaking the homelessness cycle. The recommissioned homelessness pathway will need to identify the most appropriate housing and support options for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Placing people in inappropriate accommodation can lead to repeat homelessness. For example, living in shared supported housing may exacerbate the support needs of some individuals.

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Implementation of the strategy

We will produce a delivery plan with our partners, using the actions developed for each of the four strategic aims, as outlined in this strategy. We have a shared commitment across our key partners and stakeholders to support the delivery of this strategy, as the achievement of our vision is dependent upon their contribution. As part of the delivery process, we will agree a commissioning strategy, which will include a new pathway model and systems change.

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Summary

Summary of our vision, values, principles and strategic aims.

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