Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Thurrock Council pledge to deal with "alarming increase" in homelessness

A PLAN to help Thurrock Council deal with a “significant and alarming” increase in homelessness in the borough has been agreed by top councillors.

Cllr John Kent, Leader of the Council, told Wednesday (11 November) evening’s meeting of the council’s cabinet: “I really do believe that good housing is at the very core of any secure and stable society.

“Good health, good jobs, good education, decent communities, children raised in safe and secure families all rely on having somewhere warm, decent and permanent to live.”

He explained there was a “terrifying rise in homelessness up and down the country”, with the number of people sleeping rough increasing 55 per cent since 2010 and the number making a homelessness application up by over a quarter in that time.

Cllr Kent said: “Thurrock is not immune and we are seeing such an increase in those coming to the council for help with homelessness that – no matter how hard we and our officers work – we just cannot ensure every case is resolved speedily or satisfactorily.

“For example, currently we have 90 households in temporary accommodation, up by a third compared with the same time last year and the year before.

“There is absolutely no doubt the numbers are going up at a significant and alarming rate.”

The proposal, said Cllr Kent, was to change the present system of five different contracts helping support homeless people to just one overarching contract when the current ones expire next year with an estimated four-year value of £1.8 million.

He said: “By having the single contract it makes it more efficient to monitor the two homeless accommodation schemes and three support programmes as well as creating savings through joint management and administration, enabling better use of staff time across all five areas.

“The crisis intervention part of the contract aims to deliver targeted support, including debt and financial advice, to prevent homelessness.

“More importantly it will create more accommodation for young people in care who are moving into independent living, meaning we are better able to support them.”

He added that the savings made by the proposed changes would be reinvested in the homeless teal.

Members agreed to support a Commissioning Report enabling the procurement to go ahead; and to delegate authority to the Director for Planning, Transportation and Housing, in conjunction with the Portfolio Holder, to authorise the award after the tender process.

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