Oldham Council announces new strategy to tackle homelessness

A five-year strategy to tackle homelessness in Oldham is due to be approved by the Council’s cabinet committee tonight.

This latest strategy addresses the extra challenges the coronavirus pandemic has and will continue to have for housing, as several protections put in place during the pandemic have come to an end.

According to Oldham Council, the majority of homeless people are families or single people staying with friends and relatives or in temporary or inappropriate accommodation, with the number of people needing emergency help because they find themselves in this situation rising and predicted to continue to rise as Universal Credit cuts kick in and the cost-of-living increases.

The plan identifies new priorities to tackle homelessness in the area, including promoting advice and information services and ensuring people have access to services to prevent homelessness, ensuring everyone is aware of the ‘duty to refer’ people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness, and stepping in to prevent people becoming homeless.

silhouette of person carrying backpack during orange sunset

The plan also sets out how the Council will use data to identify people who need additional support, such as rough sleepers, survivors of domestic abuse and care leavers, and working together as a co-operative borough to prevent and reduce homelessness through shared resources, information and goals.

Cllr Hannah Roberts, cabinet member for housing, said: ‘We are living in some of the most challenging times in our recent history. Homeless people are already amongst the most disadvantaged in society, with many in Oldham particularly affected by poor mental and physical health. 

‘Oldham and the UK more widely, has a housing crisis. The pandemic has highlighted problems caused by a lack of social housing, an unregulated private sector, rising house prices putting homes out of the reach of many, cutting levels of Housing Benefit and the continuing impact of Right to Buy. Our Homelessness Prevention and Reduction strategy takes all that into account and sets out a bold plan to address it and find a sustainable solution.’

In related news, a service providing housing and additional support for people with a history of rough sleeping in Brighton is expanding to help more people.

Photo by Dimi Katsavaris


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