BCP Council is taking part in an “innovative” study looking at how best to house homeless people.

Run by the Centre for Homelessness and Cardiff University academics, it will examine the work local authorities did in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the effectiveness of measures they brought in.

The council’s cabinet member for housing, councillor Kieron Wilson, said it was “an honour” to be taking part in the project.

As part of the trial, experts will analyse which housing options used by local authorities across England are most likely to “improve people’s outcomes.

It will see homeless people monitored over a 12-month period to evaluate how efforts to provide them with housing have affected their lives.

The Centre for Homelessness said it hoped its work would reduce the rate of coronavirus infection among homeless people while also reducing the number of rough sleepers who become homeless again.

Dr Ligia Teixeira, its CEO, said there was an “opportunity” to use significant changes brought about by the pandemic to improve work with people without a permanent place to live.

“It is our hope that in conducting this trial, we can give local authorities that are operating with limited resources, the tools they need to ensure that people are not returning to the streets,” she said.

BCP Council will take part in the study, an announcement which follows last week’s visit by rough sleeping minister Luke Hall to Bournemouth at the end of last month.

Hundreds of homeless people have been housed by the council since lockdown measures were first introduced with dozens having since moved into more permanent accommodation.

“This is a really exciting opportunity to achieve better outcomes for both our residents locally, but also nationally, as we contribute to a research gap, understanding the effectiveness of settled accommodation, particularly in preventing Covid-19 infection,” Cllr Wilson said.

“In order to understand a subject or issue, you need to study it and homelessness is no different, except in the sense that there is often a larger void in the amount of academic material on it.”

The study started last month and is expected to run for 18 months.