New homelessness prevention strategy launched in Mansfield

Photo of MDC CEO Adam Hill addressing the launch of the homelessness and rough sleeping strategy
The launch of the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy

A new homelessness strategy that aims to make it everyone’s business has been published.

The ‘Mansfield District Council Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy’ covers 2024 - 2029 and builds on the previous progress and outcomes from the 2019 - 2024 plan. The new plan has been informed following a six-week public consultation and partnership working with Ashfield, and Newark and Sherwood district councils.

The strategy has six strategic priorities: early intervention, an accessible and responsive service, access to sustainable accommodation, developing pathways, improving life chances, and delivering holistic support solutions to support long-term tenancies.

Jill Finnesey, the council's Head of Housing, said: “We must all work together to end homelessness. The council wants to prevent homelessness, and where it does occur, to support people out of it as soon as possible and ensure it does not recur.

“The council recognises that this is not a standalone strategy as homelessness is everyone’s responsibility and can only be tackled through closer partnership work. This strategy strikes the right balance between homelessness prevention and delivering holistic support packages to transfer people from homelessness into settled accommodation.

“These strategies continue the impressive progress we have made to date by taking on a holistic view of the measures that are needed to end homelessness.

“This includes implementing policies that reduce the impact of poverty, partnership working to respond to the shortage of social housing and supporting customers in financial hardship.”

The strategy came into effect from 26 March 2024, and was launched at a dedicated event with stakeholders and partners at the Civic Centre.

The new strategy follows on from figures published in the first two quarters of 2023 showing a total of 67 placements in temporary accommodation, compared to 50 in the previous year, an increase of 25.3 percent. The council’s temporary accommodation has been running at over 98 percent capacity, compared to 55 percent in previous years.

From April to October 2023, the authority dealt with 209 homeless cases, an increase from the previous year’s 153.

The council runs several programmes throughout the district to prevent and support people facing homelessness, including its First Steps project, funded through the Rough Sleeping Initiative.

The First Steps project enables rough sleepers to move off the streets and into accommodation, combined with a wraparound package of support to help address often complex needs such as mental health issues and substance misuse.

The council also launched a voluntary code of practice, known as the Homeless Charter, to help local organisations take a united approach to supporting homeless people in the district, encouraging all food provisions to work together.

The Freedom project is a 12-month initiative with the long-standing support group Beacon, to support people who struggle to cope with the requirements of modern living, including money management, benefits systems, and accessing NHS support.

During the winter period, including very cold snaps, the council follows the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP), which occurs when the temperature drops below zero degrees for three consecutive nights or more. If SWEP triggers, the council has a duty to accommodate rough sleepers, regardless of local connection, to prevent loss of life for however long SWEP lasts.

Published: March 26th 2024