Mendip's Homelessness Prevention - Mendip Matters - 3rd Feb 2022


There seems to be a whole industry collecting and supplying data in this country. My time at NHS Taunton/Musgrove Park Hospital, and now at Mendip District Council, has really bought that home. But if you want to inform decisions – or you want decisions to be better informed – you need facts and figures. Data can add to our policy development, measure progress and highlight issues that deserve attention.

You’ll find plenty of data in Mendip’s quarterly performance report, contained in our Cabinet papers. Some figures I would like to highlight concern our rough sleeping statistics, and the number in temporary accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts.

Every year, around 1,600 households present to Mendip District Council with a housing issue and just under half are homeless or at risk of homelessness. It’s common knowledge that housing need outstrips supply. Rents are going up more quickly than the housing costs element of benefits – this means options can be very limited.

Homelessness prevention and early intervention are key, as is partnership working with other councils, agencies and organisations. It's about empowering people to remain in their home for the long term, or at least remain there until a planned move is made. 

There are always increases in applications at this time of year. However at Mendip, the Housing Options Team achieved their lowest statutory homelessness figures in temporary accommodation for many years this Christmas. At the end of the last quarter (31st of Dec 2021) we had three households in emergency housing. 

There are still high numbers of people who find themselves rough sleeping in the district. There are currently eight rough sleepers out at the moment, and 16 in bed and breakfast accommodation who we are working with to encourage them to consider options available to them. Of those eight out at the moment, all receive regular engagement and have been offered the opportunity to come in - but have so far refused offers. 

Mendip continues to provide specific and tailored interventions, and helps fund a number of partners to deliver the services, including Citizens Advice, Mendip YMCA, and Elim Connect based in Wells. 

Your District Council believes everyone deserves a home, and support is available. If you are concerned about someone who might be sleeping rough, please alert professionals in our area by logging this concern at www.streetlink.org.uk, giving as much information as possible about the individual you are concerned about. Mendip’s trained professionals will then respond to this report and attempt to engage with the individual to discuss options available with them.

And if you, or someone you know is at risk of homelessness, you can call our Housing Options Team on 0300 303 8588 or make a homeless application online www.mendip.gov.uk/housing.

If you have any questions for me, then please do get in touch on email: [email protected] or via Facebook: @RosWyke. 

Written by Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of Mendip District Council

Please get in touch either on my Facebook page @Ros.Wyke or you can send me an email: [email protected].


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