By Jamie Waller, Local Democracy Reporter
Rough sleepers and people who have faced homelessness in the past have shared their views on a new strategy to tackle it in Bassetlaw.
The local district council’s policy aims to stop people from losing their homes in the first place, and get them back into stable housing when they do.
As well as agencies who support the homeless, the council has been asking people who have experienced it first-hand for their opinions.
One unnamed local mum who fled her home due to violence from her neighbours said more should be done to keep families together.
She said she was forced to sofa surf, while her children ended up being separated from family members.
She also called for more help at the initial point of contact.
A rough sleeper who was interviewed asked if more support could be made available away from council buildings, as he felt too intimidated to go in and make a homelessness application.
He said more intervention by homeless officers would be helpful.
Another rough sleeper who was evicted from supported housing said they felt there needed to be more specialist help available.
He feared simply being placed into housing with no other support would see him end up back on the streets.
The new strategy, which will be in place between 2023 and 2028, will be discussed at the council’s Cabinet on Tuesday, November 28.
Figures in it reveal Bassetlaw District Council received 153 homeless applications in 2022/23, down from 288 the previous year.
Prevention and early intervention work meant that 82 of last year’s applications were no longer considered at risk of homelessness.
Private rented tenancies coming to an end was by far the most common reason behind the risk of homelessness in the district (49 per cent), with relationship breakdowns the second most common (8 per cent).
Council figures show there were an average of three or four rough sleepers in Bassetlaw at any month throughout 2022 to 2023.
The Government’s Rough Sleeper Accommodation Programme has been used to fund six flats for Bassetlaw residents at risk of homelessness following a successful bid.
Bed and breakfasts are also used to house people in need.
Demand for council properties remains very high, with nearly 4000 people on the waiting list.