Taunton rough sleepers strategy by Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) plans to address homelessness by 2027.
The proposed strategy, sets out an ambition to adopt a new voluntary responsibility to house a greater number of rough sleepers than the council has a statutory duty to accommodate.
This would significantly increase the number of single homeless which SWT is seeking to accommodate directly or through partners, and is a big step towards helping the Council meet the government’s objective to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and end rough sleeping by 2027.
Executive Member for Housing, Cllr Fran Smith, has told Tone News:
SWT is committed to providing more housing options for all members of the community.
This includes having the right provision in place to prevent homelessness whenever we can and to help people faced with homelessness and sleeping rough to access suitable accommodation with extra support tailored to individual needs.
The success of our future accommodation proposals and our ultimate aim to end rough sleeping in the district will require continued strong partnership working with our accommodation providers as well as the wide range of support services we work with.
The Executive also agreed to continue short term use of Canonsgrove in Trull for temporary rough sleeping accommodation while it secures alternative long term provision.
The Bridgwater and Taunton College site was secured as emergency self-contained accommodation for rough sleepers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Its extended use for some single homeless was one of several options put forward for consideration following a review of accommodation requirements for single homeless people and rough sleepers in the district.
The extension up to March 2023 will ensure the most vulnerable continue to be protected while allowing time to identify and deliver new additional accommodation supply in the district close to all amenities.
Further work outside of this appraisal is also taking place to consider future provision for homeless families and details of which will be shared on the Tone News website.