Accommodation for homeless people in Reading is set to increase, under Council proposals aimed at delivering better value for money.
As a result of the Council’s review of its Homeless Pathway scheme, the number of beds available for homeless people in the borough will go up by 24 to 224.
This will mean more places for couples, women, people with pets and those who might need longer-term supported housing.
The proposals, which include the continuation of the recently formed access panel which assesses people’s needs and ensures they are directed towards the most appropriate support, have already been agreed between the Council and individual key providers. The proposals as a package will now be discussed with other public bodies and voluntary groups for their feedback. The Council and providers will be consulting with service users and staff.
The Homeless Pathway refers to the help the Council and its partners provide for vulnerable single adults and childless couples who need to be housed. There are three levels of housing with support and services are designed to help people to develop the skills they need for independent living.
Supported housing services for single homeless adults are currently delivered by six accommodation-based support providers. These services, together with St Mungo’s Street Outreach Team, floating support services and the Council’s Housing Needs Team, provide a valuable network that supports people to find places to live.
The Council has recently undertaken a review of homelessness provision and how it is delivered across Reading. This has involved working closely with key partners to identify ways in which the services can be delivered more efficiently, and are better tailored to meeting Reading’s needs. As a result, not only will there be extra beds, but improved efficiencies in the way accommodation is provided will generate savings worth £215,000.
None of these proposed changes will result in the closure of any services providing accommodation for homeless people.
The final decision on how Reading’s Homeless Pathway service will run in the future will be taken by the Council’s Cabinet in late November, taking account of feedback from this consultation process.
Rachel Eden, Lead Councillor for Housing and Neighbourhoods, said: ‘This review has involved taking a long, hard look at opportunities to get the very best outcomes, particularly for those people with more complex support needs. We are pleased by how well our partners have worked with us in developing these proposals.
“With increases in homelessness predicted nationally, here in Reading we are doing all we can to support residents who find themselves homeless.”