AN AMBITIOUS plan that aims to eradicate rough sleeping in the borough by 2024 will be brought before council this week.

The Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2020 to 2024 was given the backing of the cabinet last week, where they recommended that full council adopts the plan.

As well as the commitment to eradicate rough sleeping, the key priorities of the report are preventing homelessness; deliver housing choice and quality; tackling climate change and future proofing housing; and place shaping.

To prevent homelessness, it intends to progress partnership working and help ensure the most vulnerable in the community receive the services and support they need.

Speaking at the meeting last week, Cllr Tristan Robinson, cabinet member for homes and families, said: "The new strategy has been developed with significant input from members, stakeholders and partners.

"My hope is that through these five key aims it shows that there is opportunity for all at its heart.

"All of our residents have a right to expect the council to play a role in ensuring that they can access sufficient secure accommodation."

The council describes rough sleeping as “a distinct, complex and harmful type of homelessness that affects the most vulnerable in our community”.

To tackle the problem, it aims to develop the work of the Social Inclusion Partnership which helps deliver a rough sleeping plan.

It also wants to maximise the number of additional affordable homes for rent and ownership, and continue with the Help to Buy initiative as well as deliver a new Own Home Loan scheme.

Plans include reducing the number of empty homes and managing the private rented sector enforcement so these homes are maintained to a decent standard.

The strategy sets out how the council will tackle the climate change emergency through new and existing housing.

This includes working with local housing associations to reduce carbon emissions.

Speaking at last week's meeting, Cllr Ken Rhatigan, leader of the council, labelled the document as a "very good piece of work".

Meanwhile, deputy leader Cllr Simon Bound said: "We should acknowledge the work carried out by our officers on the Social Inclusion Partnership.

"What we have achieved with their help is in stark contrast to what has been happening with lots of other authorities.

"It is great to see that that work has continued through the global pandemic."

The issue will now be debated by full council at the meeting this Thursday, July 16.

You can watch the meeting live on the council's website:

It starts at 6.30pm.