Council approves strategy to reduce homelessness in Eastbourne

Cabinet councillors have agreed a new strategy to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in Eastbourne.  

The five-year plan aims to reduce homelessness by taking preventative actions, by intervening effectively when it occurs and by using sustainable solutions for re-housing and support.  

Councillor Alan Shuttleworth, Cabinet member for Direct Assistance Services, said: “This strategy provides an excellent framework for our continued work to combat homelessness.  

“It contains a series of strong initiatives such as the creation of a dedicated ‘prevention hub’ to co-ordinate the work of council teams, local voluntary and agency partners, and a review of temporary accommodation provision to enhance the supply of a good quality, value for money, portfolio.” 

A review undertaken earlier this year shows demand continues to be high and is likely to remain so, with around 1,400 households raising enquiries with the council’s housing needs team in each of the past two years.   

According to the review, work carried out by the team helped secure homes for over 60% of the 111 households threatened with homelessness.  

Meanwhile, further actions by the housing needs team helped secure homes for 36% of the 335 households already homeless when they approached the council.  

As a result of the team’s activities, only 42% of those already homeless when they approached the council required temporary accommodation.  

Councillor Shuttleworth added: “Reducing homelessness and ending rough sleeping is a priority for us, and we are taking decisive steps towards achieving this goal.  

“We want to get people off the street and support them in breaking the cycles of dependency that keep them there, and the Rough Sleeping Initiative is helping by identifying and connecting rough sleepers with local services.  

“Another factor that has been integral in preventing homelessness and giving support to vulnerable households across the borough is our strong partnership work with other agencies.”  

The annual rough sleeper count for Eastbourne, which takes place each autumn, recorded 10 cases in 2021, a reduction from 14 in 2020, and 16 in 2019.  

The review also recognised the continuing impact of high house prices, which now average over ten times the average local salary in Eastbourne. These inflated prices have a knock-on impact on rents, which have risen 22% over the past five years, restricting the access that those on low incomes have to both home ownership and private rented markets and contributing to increasing level of homelessness across the town. 

View the strategy at www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/eastbourne-homelessness-and-rough-sleeping-strategy