Mansfield council launches strategy to end rough sleeping

A new plan which aims to end rough sleeping and support residents in battles against homelessness has been launched in Mansfield.

Mansfield District Council announced its plan on June 5, which aims to prevent as many residents as possible from becoming homeless and ensure that, if anyone has to sleep rough, it is brief and does not happen again.

Mansfield District Council wants to end rough sleeping.

Mansfield District Council wants to end rough sleeping.

It will work in partnership with similar schemes at Ashfield and Newark & Sherwood district councils, as well as Nottinghamshire homelessness agencies.

For the council this has meant increasing the number of officers who deal with rent arrears and debt, which are major causes of eviction and, subsequently, homelessness.

Helping people transfer to the Universal Credit benefit without falling into debt has also been a major focus of this work, which will run for five years until 2024.

Jill Finnesey, head of housing at Mansfield District Council, said: "We have new duties under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 to tackle this issue but reducing and preventing homelessness is not something the council can do alone.

“We need to work closely with partners, such as charities and housing associations and with private landlords to find solutions to people at risk. We want to encourage the wider community, too, to do their bit to help those at risk.

"Often people at risk have underlying problems, such as addictions, mental health issues or domestic abuse, so we need to ensure that their individual needs are met appropriately, holistically and sustainably."

The council is also encouraging people to reduce food insecurity by growing their own food, and will provide access to free food and cooking skills classes.

Another objective is to increase the amount of social housing and the council plans to do this through a £21m programme to build more than 100 new council homes over the next five years.

Mansfield's MP Ben Bradley has welcomed the new strategy.

He said: "I'm pleased that MDC and the new mayor continue to take the issue of homelessness seriously. There has been a lot of good work and collaboration going on in this area, and it's one of my key objectives too.

"I'm looking forward to welcoming the minister responsible for tackling homelessness to Mansfield at the end of the month, having recently launched a new report in parliament on preventing homelessness as a result of domestic violence.

"I look forward to seeing more detail of the strategy in due course.”