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Bournemouth Council draw up new plans to tackle homelessness crisis
BOURNEMOUTH council has drawn up plans to tackle homelessness and provide much-needed affordable housing in the resort.
A seven-year strategy to boost housing supply and tackle rough sleeping will be unveiled at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, a month after homeless man Karl Lambe was found dead in a church doorway.
Mr Lambe, 42, was discovered by church keeper Bob Bembridge when he arrived to open Richmond Hill St Andrew’s church on January 20. A postmortem showed Mr Lambe had died from natural causes.
The 42-year-old’s death prompted calls for more action to tackle the town’s homeless problem.
Campaigner John Coulston, 85, who received a Papal medal for his charity work, said: “It’s really hard for people on the streets and I think the economic situation is making matters worse; these people are so vulnerable.
“If homeless people come from outside the area they are usually given just three nights shelter before being sent on their way.”
The council’s new “housing vision for Bournemouth” is also aimed at breathing new life into empty properties and providing specialist accommodation for the most vulnerable including young people, the elderly and those with learning disabilities.
The strategy will focus on regenerating areas, including Boscombe, as well as improving the management and standard of privately rented accommodation and encouraging greener homes.
The introduction of five-year, fixed-term tenancies for new social housing tenants, plans to build 105 new council homes and increasing debt management advice services will also be considered.
Cllr Robert Lawton, cabinet member for housing, who will introduce the new housing strategy, said: “It demonstrates our commitment to further improving housing within the borough, which will help to shape our communities and meet future housing needs.
“The public consultation feedback, which highlighted the need to address welfare reform and issues in Boscombe, played a big part in the development of the final strategy.”
If approved by the cabinet, detailed action plans will be drawn up for the start of the new financial year.
The eight-housing aspirations
- Ensuring the right supply of new housing, maximising affordable housing
- Getting most use out of existing homes
- Tackling homelessness and rough sleeping
- Specialist accommodation for people with different needs
- Improving standard of privately rented homes
- Regeneration of areas such as Boscombe
- Encouraging greener homes
- Managing resources more efficiently