West Suffolk hosts homelessness summit

Representatives from the Local Government Association, the National Housing Federation, and East of England local authorities, social landlords and other housing bodies are meeting to tackle key issues in temporary accommodation.

The size of the homelessness problem in the East of England and how to cope with it, will be tackled of a regional summit to be held in Bury St Edmunds on Monday, March 18.

The National Housing Federation’s ‘Homeless Bound’ report shone a light on the growing problem of homelessness across London, the East and South East of England. It also anticipated additional homelessness as a result of economic and welfare changes in 2013 and beyond.

A key aspect of the report was to celebrate good practice and build partnership working between housing associations, local authorities and other partners. The National Housing Federation, together with the Local Government Association (LGA), have invited representatives of housing organisations across the region to the summit to share and improve practice.

Cllr Anne Gower, St Edmundsbury Borough Council Cabinet member for Housing will welcome the delegates. She said,

“I am pleased that we are hosting this vital event. As local authorities we focus on preventing homelessness, but we know there is increasing demand for more good-quality temporary accommodation. We have to make sure we minimise the use of bed and breakfast and find new ways of housing homeless households. Here in West Suffolk we have a joint group working across two authorities looking for joint solutions - sharing experience, resources and available temporary accommodation.”

The summit will hear key homelessness trends in the east from ‘Homebound’ author Rhona Brown of the National Housing Federation, and about temporary housing solutions from David Bogle, Chief Executive, Hightown Praetorian & Churches Housing Association, Hertfordshire. Tracey Brushett, Regional Homelessness Advisor, will speak about helping local authorities with temporary private sector accommodation.

Delegates will also share their experiences and plans for out-of-borough temporary accommodation, barriers and opportunities in the private rented sector, and meeting future need.