COUNCILLORS have support a new homelessness and rough sleeping strategy for Test Valley, which will be in place for the next three years.

At a meeting held on Wednesday, February 28, Test Valley Borough Council's cabinet met to outline a new plan for its preventing homelessness and rough sleeping strategy, which will be in place from 2024 until 2027.

The Homelessness Act 2002 places a duty on local housing authorities to undertake periodic reviews of homelessness and to develop strategies for preventing and tackling homelessness based on the outcomes of those reviews.

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The recommended strategy set out that the council will empower and support people to overcome their housing challenges, work together to maintain strong local partnership connections that contribute to the prevention and relief of homelessness in a holistic and timely way.

It adds that the council will provide good quality support services and information to communities to enable them to thrive and sustain accommodation, and work in collaboration to ensure rough sleeping is prevented wherever possible or to ensure it is rare, brief and non-recurring.

Cllr Nick Adams-King, cabinet member for housing and environmental health, said: "We do some really exceptional work and are in a position where if you talk to the housing team they know who is sleeping rough in the borough at any one time and although it might not be that we can always get people into accommodation as they may not wish to do so, but we at least know about them and are able to check they are okay, safe and know of the opportunities available to get indoors."

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Council leader Cllr Phil North told the meeting: "Its an opportunity for us in this strategy to continue to make the offer of accommodation to anyone that is rough sleeping in our borough. It's not always accepted but we always do our best to help those out and if we can get those people indoors in the warm.

"People are experiencing homelessness for one reason or another and they may need support to help in order to make that step indoors, so its important we continue to provide that wraparound care on a daily basis."

Cabinet member Cllr David Drew said: "Any society is judged by how it helps those who are most needy and disadvantaged and this approach of trying to lift those up who need a helping hand is the right approach. Very happy to support this motion."

Councillors voted to adopt the Preventing Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy from 2024 to 2027.