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Housing, homelessness and rough sleeping strategy

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Thursday 11 July

New housing, homelessness and rough sleeping strategy approved

Councillors have approved plans to put local people at the centre of local housing policy.

Swale Borough Council’s cabinet has approved a new housing, homelessness and rough sleeping strategy which sets out how the authority will work to tackle housing issues over the next four years.

The strategy has been informed by research which found a number of challenges facing the borough, including the pressure of people moving from the London area, the lack of genuinely affordable housing and pressure on services supporting people at risk of homelessness.

A consultation carried out earlier this year raised issues of the quantity and affordability of housing, particularly for people on low incomes.

Cllr Ben Martin, cabinet member for housing at the council said:

“With average house prices now more than nine times the average local wage, and private rent becoming unaffordable for people on moderate or low incomes, it’s painfully clear that the local housing market isn’t working for too many local people.

“Displacement from London is driving up prices and pushing increasing numbers of local families into housing crisis. This means we are seeing more and more people coming to us for help as they face losing their home.

“We believe everyone in our community deserves safe, warm decent housing that they can afford, which is why we’re setting out how we plan to tackle homelessness and accelerate affordable housing delivery.

“The strategy will help us steer our resources and response to housing issues so we are focussed on the issues that have the biggest impact for local people.

“The strategy alone won’t solve all the issues - we have to keep lobbying the government on key issues that need addressing – but it’s a proactive first step in the right direction.”

Cllr Ghlin Whelan, deputy cabinet member for housing at the council, said:

“We need to work to help people get access to affordable housing – either through buying or renting – and help those in housing to stay there.

“We want to work with housing providers to build more genuinely affordable homes for local people.

“We’ll also be investing in expanding our housing options team so they can offer a better service with the increased pressures they’re under.”

The council’s cabinet approved the housing, homelessness and rough sleeping strategy 2019-23 which sets out four strategic priorities for the council:

To deliver these, the council has committed to delivering on six key objectives:

The report on the strategy was agreed at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, 10 July, and the full report is available here.

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