Homeless help the homeless
Homeless people in Mansfield are being given a big say on how future services are provided to meet their needs.
New initiatives to help prevent homelessness and to help support people forced out of their homes through mortgage arrears are being promised as part of the new Mansfield Inter-Agency Homelessness Strategy.
Current and former homeless people have been involved in the creation of the strategy and will continue to take part in working groups which will oversee new projects being implemented.
A review of homelessness in the district has found that whilst there has been a huge reduction in Mansfield over the last five years, action is now needed to tackle changing priorities.
The new strategy, which will be in place for the next five years, is a collaboration between the numerous organisations involved in tackling homelessness in the district, including Mansfield District Council, Notts County Council, YMCA, Connexions, Framework, the Hall, Action Housing, Supporting People and also homeless people.
It has been launched with two main aims; that fewer people will become homeless in Mansfield and that people who do become homeless will be housed as soon as possible and are less likely to become homeless again.
Three working groups have been created to work on the delivery of new projects which will specifically include:
- Better services and support for young people
- Better access to advice in a 'one-stop shop' environment
- Providing a permanent direct access hostel for rough sleepers
During the lifetime of the previous Mansfield homelessness strategy (2003-2008) homeless applications made to Mansfield District Council fell by 72%, the average number of people in temporary accommodation was reduced from 261 to 66 and 46% of all approaches made to the Council have had their threat of homelessness prevented.
Coun Heather Henshaw, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Mansfield District Council said: "The Council and its many excellent partners have made massive strides in tackling the issue of homelessness over the last five years.
"However we recognise that many new challenges are on the horizon, hence the need to review our strategy and meet those new challenges head-on.
"Over the next five years our focus will be on people being able to get help if something is going wrong with their housing situation, to plan any moves they do make and to access temporary and permanent accommodation when they need it."
Reverend Paul Hill, Chairman of the Mansfield Inter-Agency Homelessness Forum added: ""All partners have come together to produce a strategy so that Mansfield can be rid of homelessness. This is a bold, though achievable aim."
Pictured at the launch are (left to right): Chris Fisher, Housing Solutions Manager at Mansfield District Council; Rev Paul Hill, Chairman of the Mansfield Inter-Agency; Claire Grainger, CEO of Hostel Liaison Group; Coun Kate Allsop, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Mansfield District Council; Tim Wormall, former homeless person; Ruth Marlow, Managing Director of Mansfield District Council and Ajman Ali, Corporate Director of Housing, Property and Operational Services at Mansfield District Council