Pledge to homeless

Aylesbury Vale District Council has voted unanimously to adopt its draft Housing and Homelessness Strategy for 2019-2022. The strategy, which will be published on the council website in January, sets out a collaborative approach to tackling homelessness across the Vale – bringing together local authority links, registered housing providers and health organisations.

The vision within the strategy is that those who want to make the Vale their home are supported and enabled to do so. The strategy has four strategic priorities to help achieve this:

Strategic Priority 1: Prevent and reduce homelessness and rough sleeping.

Strategic Priority 2: Continue to facilitate and maximise the supply of affordable housing.

Strategic Priority 3: Respond to the ongoing challenges of welfare reform.

Strategic Priority 4: Contribute to the improvement of health and wellbeing services for people at risk of homelessness.

The council is already making headway in a tough climate with nearly 1,700 households prevented from becoming homeless since April 2014, and will continue to strive towards the government target of eliminating rough sleeping completely by 2027, spearheaded by the Rough Sleepers Initiative.

Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Mark Winn, said: ‘I’m very grateful for the input and support that AVDC officers and pivotal partners have provided in the development of this strategy. There’s an increasing affordability challenge for many people who wish to make their home in Aylesbury Vale, which we need to tackle. This is despite the fact that our area is one of the highest-performing councils in the country for delivering new homes, with 1,546 of these built over the last five years being affordable housing [pictured].

‘I’m inspired by the work of our housing officers and our partners to help the rough sleepers in our area, but having been out myself with them early one morning and met some of our rough sleepers, I know breaking the cycle of homelessness for them is going to be a hard task to solve. But with extra government funding and the determined efforts of AVDC officers and our partners, we’re beginning to make an impact by reducing the numbers of those sleeping rough and helping others to address their often very complex issues so that they can return into housing.

‘I’m further inspired by the efforts of our staff at AVDC in homelessness prevention, with over 1,700 households being prevented from becoming homeless over the last five years.

‘Ensuring people are housed is arguably the most important thing we do as a local authority. Our strategy builds on our successes to date and I believe it sets out how we can fulfil the vision within it: “To ensure those who wish to make their home in the Vale can do so.” ‘

 The strategy and its action plan will be monitored by the Homeless Prevention Forum, which is hosted by the council on a quarterly basis. Updates on the action plan will be posted on the district council website.

For additional information on the new Housing and Homelessness Strategy, contact Aylesbury Vale District Council on 01296 585858. To report a rough sleeper, call StreetLink on 0300 500 0914.