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PARTNERSHIP APPROACH RESULTS IN HOMELESS NUMBERS DROP

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A dramatic 90% drop in homelessness in the borough - that's just one of the results of Guildford BC'S Homeless Prev...
A dramatic 90% drop in homelessness in the borough - that's just one of the results of Guildford BC'S Homeless Prevention Strategy 2003-06, which was reviewed this month at a special conference.

The strategy has made a significant impact on the lives of homeless people in the borough by shifting the emphasis away from 'crisis-driven' intervention - when people are already homeless or in danger of being so - to preventing homelessness.

Lead Councillor for Housing, Cllr Andrew French, says: 'The drop in numbers of homeless people is thanks to the council and partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors working hard together to achieve real improvements in services to homeless people, from households with children to single homeless people and rough sleepers'.

As part of the strategy the council and partners are:

-- increasing the amount of affordable accommodation in the borough,

-- finding innovative ways of preventing households from losing their accommodation,

-- providing more services and support to 'at risk' households, and

-- providing assistance to those who do become homeless.

Earlier this month, over 130 representatives from different organisations including the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), Surrey County Council, health workers, voluntary bodies, the police and religious groups attended the annual homelessness prevention conference, organised by the borough council at Guildford Cathedral.

'The council has a strong commitment to joint working on housing and homelessness and there are a number of very effective local partnership arrangements in place. The conference was a great opportunity to celebrate their success and plan developments to improve services still further,' adds Cllr French.

Speakers at the conference included the ODPM Homelessness Directorate's Head of Implementation, Lisa Barker.

The strategy for 2006-09 will be launched in September this year.

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