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Next step taken to tackle homelessness in the borough

Published: Tuesday, 7th July 2020

Homelessness and rough sleeper services in the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead continue to be improved as part of a new strategy which has been approved.

The Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy will continue to guide the council’s approach and ensure that agencies work effectively together to support those who are or may become homeless, guided by a focus on prevention and early help.

Two successful focus groups were held during the lockdown period as well as previous engagement with partners on the strategy and its work. The refreshed strategy has taken account of latest data; considered changes to national guidance and analysis of best practice; and reflected present relationships and joint-working with partners. 

Councillor Ross McWilliams, cabinet member for housing, communications and youth engagement, says: “I am delighted that we have approved this strategy. We continue to take a collaborative approach to tackling homelessness and rough sleeping working closely with partners from the statutory and voluntary sectors.

“Our work is underpinned by the core values of compassion, thoroughness and cooperation. These are the values we measure ourselves against and what we believe residents expect from a modern housing service.

“There has been a huge change in our approach to providing housing support. The service has seen massive improvements and we now have strong foundations upon which to build an ambitious, innovative and industry-leading service that puts residents at the heart of what we do.

“Crucially, the refreshed strategy will enable us to embed our new approach and ensure a permanent cultural shift in our approach; monitor success with data gathering and data publishing; and go even further in working with partners to ensure holistic support continues.”

The strategy focuses on working collaboratively with partners on the following five key priorities:

  • Reducing the numbers of people becoming homeless.
  • Reducing the numbers of households in temporary accommodation and improving the quality of that accommodation.
  • Supporting people into good quality, affordable and sustainable accommodation options.
  • Reducing rough sleeping and supporting those who find themselves on the street.
  • Improving the customer service provided to people approaching housing services.

The updated action plan sets out how the priorities in the strategy will be achieved and these will be refreshed and updated with new actions each year.

The refreshed action plan for the strategy has been developed through a desktop review of homelessness statistics, trends and issues, both quantitative and qualitative consideration of national and local policy, current and proposed and analysis of best practice from across the country.

Partners that we have engaged with include voluntary organisations such as Driven Forward, Salvation Army and the Windsor Homeless Project, housing providers such as Radian and Housing Solutions, health service providers, statutory agencies and Thames Valley Police.

A survey was also carried out with customers who had been supported through homelessness to learn what they thought about the provision.

The strategy was originally adopted in November 2018 and the refresh takes into account the most up-to-date data and reflects the present working arrangements with our key partner organisations. It was approved at cabinet on Thursday 25 June 2020.

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