The Labour-controlled Swansea Council has unveiled its Homelessness Strategy aimed at early intervention and prevention as well as making the support of rough sleepers a top priority.
The strategy, driven by Swansea Labour, has been approved by the council Cabinet on Thursday and includes five objectives and a detailed action plan which includes creating a Homelessness Charter.
The Homelessness Charter will seek to develop a set of standards about how people and families who are faced with homelessness are treated and will also take into account the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
There will also be an increase in emergency beds for rough sleepers, improved access to support for those at risk of homelessness due to issues such as mental health or substance misuse and protocols developed with all local housing providers to ensure eviction is a last resort.
Andrea Lewis, Cabinet Member for Homes and Energy, said the strategy is an important step towards enhancing the alliance of organisations already working together for the benefit of vulnerable people across the city.
She said: “It isn’t about words, it is about actions. Homelessness is on the rise across Swansea, Wales and the UK. A huge amount of work is already being done to prevent homelessness in our communities.
“This strategy and the actions which go with it will help us to go the extra mile to support families, single parent families, rough sleepers, those with mental illness and others who are at risk of becoming homeless or are already homeless.
“Almost three-quarters of those who come to the council seeking help because they’re afraid of losing their home end up keeping a roof over their heads. That is good news and is better than the Welsh average. But more needs to be done.”
The challenges of homelessness and the council’s response to it is set out in the Strategy being presented to Cabinet for approval on November 15. It has been developed following an extensive consultation with service users, other housing organisations and residents generally.
The five objectives focus attention on prevention, ensures the availability of suitable accommodation and timely support for those most at risk and aims to eliminate the need for people to sleep rough.
The strategy will complement the Labour Administration’s other priorities such as building more, much-needed affordable homes across Swansea.