A LEADING Carlisle councillor believes a new plan aimed at tackling homelessness and rough sleeping in the city will help improve an already robust service.

Carlisle City Council has published its strategy for rough sleeping and homelessness for the next five years and is keen to hear the thoughts of residents about the plan.

The aims of the Carlisle Homeless Prevention and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2021-26 include:

1. Develop and implement a local ‘prevent, intervene and recover’ model with key partners, with a specific focus on those most at risk.

2. Increase rehousing options for homeless households with complex needs (e.g. mental health, learning disabilities etc), and those with a history of multiple exclusion.

3. Pilot a Housing First approach to address the housing and support needs of homeless people and rough sleepers with the most complex needs.

4. Ensure assertive outreach support and advice is provided to rough sleepers within 48 hours of receiving a location report.

5. Carry out an annual review of the severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP) to ensure that it is robust, offers appropriate protection for rough sleepers, and proactively helps them to access more suitable housing and support.

6. Develop information/e-leaflets for general public and local authority to increase awareness of assistance available.

7. Develop a monitoring system to record the support needs and housing history of rough sleepers in order to accurately inform future service provision, funding and commissioning.

“It will first improve the quality of advice, which is already remarkable,” explained Paul Nedved, Carlisle City Council cabinet member with responsibility for Economy, Enterprise and Housing.

“We will have a lot more cross-working between statutory authorities.

“We will do whatever we can to step in with accommodation support at the earliest opportunity and intervene at the earliest possible opportunity, not letting the situation to develop.

“The city council has a very strong and experienced homeless and prevention team and they are very good at adapting to changing circumstances.

“The pandemic has put increased pressure on the team having to ensure places like hostels have adequate staff cover, they meet the Covid-19 restrictions and can offer a quality service 24 hours a day.

“We want to make sure we are working with all landlords and providers to ensure we have accommodation to meet any particular need.

“It’s not a one cup fits all approach, it is a very proactive and interventionist approach where we are looking forward at any way we can possibly intervene.

“It’s all about working hard with partners to end homelessness wherever possible.

“We want to make sure no one is found wanting.”

Mr Nedved explained that the authority had helped every person in need of housing support since the start of the pandemic and has fulfilled all of its statutory duties in relation to support.

Consultation on the survey ends today.

To submit your responses, go to www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/FMLP72W.

Mr Nedved says any feedback received after the consultation deadline will also be considered.