SOMERSET West and Taunton Council plans to end rough sleeping in the district by 2027.

Full council yesterday (Tuesday) agreed to adopt and accommodation strategy and delivery plan to support homeless people in the district,

The meeting heard there are various reasons people become homeless, including lack of affordable housing, poverty, unemployment and 'life events.

To address those issues, SWT’s Single Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Accommodation Strategy and associated Delivery Plan provides a detailed analysis of demand and sets out a path to improving the accommodation offered through better facilities that match local need.

Using a client centred approach, it also aims to improve the standard of support through enhanced collaboration with vital support services such as health and care.

SWT executive member for housing Cllr Fran Smith said: “We’re committed to working with our partners to improve the support and accommodation offered to our homeless and rough sleeper community.

“With the adoption of the accommodation strategy and delivery plan, we believe that we’ve made a significant declaration of intent to end rough sleeping in our area by 2027.”

During March 2020, SWT opened the 60-bed homeless hostel at Canonsgrove, which has helped to stabilise many lives, with some people moving on to independent living.

It has been achieved with the help of the YMCA, Arc Inspire, and health, care and other services working together.

The facility at Canonsgrove needs to close by March 2023.

Delivery of the strategy has already started and conversations with accommodation providers are at an advanced stage.

In addition to working with central government to draw down funding support, SWT has identified additional funding to support the delivery.

Cllr Smith added: “Canonsgrove has taught us what is achievable and what else needs to happen, and we’re confident we’ll have a range of new accommodation secured before it closes.

"There’s much to do and the work will continue beyond this with the new unitary council ‘taking up the baton’ beyond 2023.”