Fareham's new homelessness strategy comes under fire by residents

RESIDENTS have criticised a council's homelessness and rough sleeping strategy due to a lack of social housing provision.

By Toby Paine
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 4:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 4:30 pm

Fareham Borough Council has approved a strategy for preventing and supporting people experiencing homelessness after an eight-week public consultation period.

The strategy outlines the council's priorities with an emphasis on prevention and early intervention, housing advice, improving access to the private rented sector and effective outreach to rough sleepers.

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Stock homeless rough sleeper

In the strategy document forward, executive member for housing, Councillor Fred Birkett said the impacts of homelessness can be devastating for individuals and families.

‘This strategy aims to build on Fareham’s positive track record of investing in frontline housing services, and its positive approach to preventing and relieving homelessness effectively,’ he said.

‘Rough sleeping is the most visible face of homelessness. Finding lasting and effective solutions to this challenge requires a holistic and joined-up approach from organisations and our partners across the Borough.’

After an eight-week public consultation period, 63 residents responded of which six were in support of the strategy.

One comment read: ‘The only real solution is a large increase in the available social housing owned by FBC.

'The social allowance rent figures fall a long way short of the private rental figures and this is because there are too few houses to rent. The answer is to build more.

‘Private sector is not the solution. Council/government provided accommodation is the way to do this for long term stability for these people to help them onto a better pathway of a more sustainable future.’

Another said: ‘There are 1,000 applicants in housing need requiring social housing on Fareham Borough Council’s housing register.

‘With this in mind there is no mention of a target build or acquisition of properties to meet this need.

‘The lack of local authority-owned options limits FBC options who are largely dependent on the private sector.’

At the executive meeting on Monday, Cllr Birkett addressed the public comments.

‘There were some good comments in there and on the whole, I think it was taken very positively,' he said.

‘There were no matters from the comments that required changes to either document - although they were all valid points.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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