We believe the most effective way to deal with homelessness is to prevent it from happening and we place great emphasis on this approach through the provision of specialist housing advice and assistance to all those facing homelessness or in housing difficulty in the city.
Our housing options team provides a range of options and advice, including a homeless prevention fund, a private sector leasing scheme, mediation, legal advice and referrals to supported accommodation. Our proactive approach directly prevents hundreds of households from becoming homeless each year and has been recognised as best practice by a recent peer review, carried out as part of our application for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) gold standard recognition.
As well as performing our statutory obligations, we also recognise Norwich, as the centre of a wide rural area, is a magnet for those facing homelessness or rough sleeping in the region. We are committed to preventing rough sleeping and dedicate significant resources throughout the year to preventing homelessness, as well as providing support to anyone who finds themselves on the street. This includes the employment of a specialist rough sleeper co-ordinator to provide intensive support and assistance to rough sleepers, the funding of hostel and supported accommodation, reconnection to home areas, and provision of night-time outreach support through our partners at St Martins Housing Trust.
We also provide funding to the Learning, Employment and Accommodation Project (LEAP) which plays a major role in helping us tackle the root causes of homelessness by working with people to improve their life opportunities to prevent them from becoming homeless again in the future.
At a strategic level, we work closely with neighbouring local authorities, health, charities, and other service providers to prevent homelessness and in 2016 the Greater Norwich Homelessness Forum was established.