THOUSANDS of people across Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch are homeless or at risk of losing their homes.

BCP Council's Cabinet heard that 2,700 households have been identified as being at risk.

And the council has admitted it does not have enough suitable temporary homes to meet demand.

Members were examining the council's new Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Plan.

And they were urged to seek the views of people who have experienced homelessness to help make the plan a success.

People with "lived experience" of homelessness will be asked to form a sub-group.

Michael Hancock of Poole's Community Alliance said: "I applaud that the combined homelessness and rough sleeping action plan is brought here today. I am, however, concerned that the voice of those with direct lived experience is absent from the homelessness reduction board."

He cited a forum in Leeds as a good example of what could be achieved and asked for an amendment to the action plan to address this.

His plea was backed by Cllr Andy Hadley who wanted to see people with experience of homelessness giving their views.

The action plan is a legal requirement from the government and will help to align the formerly separate housing strategies of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

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 described 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".

However, the cabinet also heard that 100 families across the conurbation had been moved to long-term secure rental.

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."