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Sandwell Council marking World Homeless Day
9:07am Monday 8th October 2012 in News
Sandwell is marking World Homeless Day by launching a new drive to prevent homelessness.
A key part of the new strategy is getting people to seek help early if they find themselves in debt and struggling to meet their rent or mortgage payments.
World Homeless Day will be marked by millions of people worldwide on Wednesday, October 10.
Sandwell's prevention of homelessness strategy sets out how the council aims to prevent homelessness and ensure housing and support will be available for Sandwell people who are sleeping rough, homeless or at risk of losing their home.
Councillor Simon Hackett, the council's cabinet member for housing, said: "I am strongly committed to reducing homelessness and tackling rough sleeping in Sandwell.
"Our new strategy, which will launch on World Homeless Day, will support the work of local voluntary sector organisations to provide local services for homeless people living in our communities.
"We will deliver services to help homeless people off our streets and I urge local communities to contact our Housing Options Service if they know of anyone sleeping rough or a risk of becoming homeless.”
Anyone having difficulty paying their mortgage or rent is urged to seek advice now by calling the Housing Options Service on 0121 569 6000 and selecting option 3 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org The service offers money advice and a range of services to help homeowners and people renting their homes.
Councillor Hackett said: “If you seek advice early, we can work to help you remain in your home.”
Last year, 4,797 households approached the council's Housing Options Service. Many were seeking housing advice.
However, 2,932 were in ‘housing need’ and the service prevented 776 households from becoming homeless by using a range of services to help people remain in their current home. The service supported a further 1,681 households to find and settle into new homes.
Councillor Hackett added: “With our new strategy, we want to ensure that more people get the advice and support that they need to prevent them from having to face the trauma of becoming homeless and improve support to people who are rough sleepers and roofless.
"We will improve our support for young people who need housing advice and strengthen services to protect people suffering domestic abuse.
"This strategy outlines the council’s commitment to ensure that every household has access to safe and secure accommodation, that vulnerable families are supported in their homes and that the needs of children are recognised and respected.
"We want to ensure that young people are given the necessary advice and support to enable them to make a successful move to independent living.
"We will provide greater access to advice and support and offer a range of affordable housing to help people live independently and safely to, in turn, contribute to improving their health and well-being."