“Tackling homelessness is a priority for us every day of the year but on World Homelessness Day, it gives us the opportunity to take stock of what we’ve achieved and look at how we can eradicate homelessness in our borough in the future” says Councillor Laura Taylor, Dudley Council’s cabinet member for housing, communities and residents’ welfare.
"Many of us may think that homelessness only refers to people sleeping rough on our streets but it doesn’t.
"It actually means anyone who is at risk of losing their home -whether it’s rented or privately owned - or people who have nowhere permanent to stay and are potentially sofa surfing.
"Each year we receive around 2,500 enquiries to our homeless prevention service. Thankfully with a combination of help and advice, most households are prevented from becoming homeless or are helped to find alternative affordable housing.
"Our homeless prevention team is dedicated to supporting every single person to make sure they have the support and advice they need to help them at this most difficult time.
Every person’s circumstances are different but the team is there to either help prevent them losing their home or find alternative accommodation when necessary.
One of the ways the council and local housing associations are helping people at risk of becoming homeless is by providing more affordable homes in the borough. In the last ten years the authority and housing association partners have built 1,633 new affordable homes. The council itself builds on average 60-70 of the new homes each year.
Councillor Taylor continues:
"Building more affordable homes is one of the key ways we can help to prevent homelessness in our borough.
"With our new homes we’re also using construction methods that help keep running costs low so will help tenants manage the monthly costs of running their own home.
"We are keen to work with partners and we're currently supporting Accord as they develop an old industrial site in Darkhouse Lane, Coseley.
"They’re building more than 140 new affordable homes that will be let to people on our housing waiting list. They are also building 65 new homes in Canal Street, Brierley Hill.
"In recent months we’ve also entered into a partnership arrangement with YMCA Black Country.
"They’re leasing 12 newly built apartments that were built by the council to provide accommodation for young people who are either leaving supported housing or leaving home for the first time.
"Dudley has a good track record on preventing homelessness and we are pleased with the progress we’ve made and the impact our affordable building programme is having."
Find out more about the advice and support providing by the council’s homeless prevention team at www.dudley.gov.uk search homelessness.