A NEW strategy aimed at ending homelessness and rough sleeping in Tendring is set to be rubber stamped by council bosses.

Tending Council launched a consultation into its new Homelessness Strategy earlier this year following an increase in the threat of homelessness in the district in recent years.

There were 308 homelessness applications made to the authority in 2017/8 compared to 87 in 2013/4, although the actual number of rough sleeps in Tendring was recorded as just five in December 2019, compared to seven in 2015.

The council’s new approach, which is set to go before the council's cabinet on Friday, is for earlier intervention and education, increasing the supply of suitable accommodation, better partnership and holistic working, and exploring new ways to tackle rough sleeping.

The report said that although the numbers of rough sleepers are low in Tendring, the council wants to do more to help prevent anyone from having to sleep rough, and to act quickly to get them out of that situation if it arises.

The strategy said: "Although these figures are relatively low, it is unacceptable that any person should have to sleep rough in the 21st Century and therefore the council will develop services to address rough sleeping and will embrace any recommendations made following the Housing First pilot scheme.

"In October 2017, following a successful joint bid with Colchester Borough Council, we were able to appoint an Early Response Rough Sleeping Co-Ordinator on a fixed term contract to help tackle rough sleeping in the district and develop new services for rough sleepers."

Specific steps include earlier identification of those at risk of homelessness, the provision of ‘crash beds’ so no-one who sleeps rough has to spend a second night on the streets, and increase the number of move-on properties.

It is estimated that the cost to the council of temporary accommodation placements has increased from £22,368 in 2013 to £459,265 in 2019, mainly due to people now being considered 'threatened' if they are warned they will be made homelessness within 56 days as opposed to the previous definition which mean people would be 'threatened homeless' within 28 days.

Paul Honeywood, cabinet member for housing, said: "Rough sleeping remains an issue for the district and whilst the numbers of people sleeping rough are low compared to other areas, we recognise that we need to intervene quicker to respond to rough sleeping and more importantly, we need to do more to prevent it in the first place.

"We will implement any changes proposed by central government as part of its Rough Sleeping Strategy and ensure that the priorities in this strategy have a positive impact on our communities and our resident’s lives.

"The Coronavirus pandemic has presented a number of challenges around homelessness and the Council has responded to guidance from central government and has had to adapt working practices accordingly."