AN action plan to prevent homelessness will be considered by BCP Council leaders on Wednesday, November 13.

According to a report to the cabinet, the authority has recorded more than 2,700 households across the conurbation either homeless or threatened with homelessness.

The council says it "does not have a sufficient supply of suitable temporary homes to meet demand", and some 73 'households' – chiefly single people – were as of September being put up in a declining stock of bed and breakfast properties.

The report also describes the number of rough sleepers in the area as "relatively high", saying "substance misuse and mental health problems are a big barrier to getting people off the streets".

BCP Council claims it performs well compared with its peers.

Stats show the authority achieved a "positive outcome" for 79 per cent of those requesting assistance, compared with figures of 71 per cent across the South West and 66 per cent nationally.

However, as the report states: "There remain significant challenges to identifying suitable accommodation alternatives for those who become homeless, particularly for those with complex needs."

Now BCP Council has put forward an agreed joint strategy to tackle the problem.

Measures include continuing to build new temporary accommodation and hostels, including projects in Princess Road, Bournemouth, and Herbert Avenue, Poole.

The council is restructuring its housing department to "develop and embed a dynamic preventative approach" aimed at ensuring early intervention, and also plans to review its website and other methods of providing information and advice to households facing difficulties.

The St Mungo's charity's outreach teams will be commissioned to extend their services into Christchurch.

The new plan also applies the local connection stipulation for access to housing across the whole BCP Council area.

The council also plans to review its preparations for the effects of hot weather and heatwaves next year.

The roles of health services such as the Health Bus and St Paul's Hostel, as well as "potential drop-ins at town centre churches" are to be reviewed, so as to "explore opportunities for the provision of a similar service to the Retreat, but allowing access for those under the influence of substances".

Other administrative and training measures are under way or under consideration.

The cabinet meets at 10am at Christchurch Civic Offices in Bridge Street.