Uttlesford District Council takes action to prevent homelessness

PUBLISHED: 09:04 01 September 2009 | UPDATED: 07:21 30 May 2010

UTTLESFORD has become one of the first districts in the east of England to sign up to an initiative to help prevent people becoming homeless. Uttlesford District Council has signed an agreement with Uttlesford Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) that sets out wa

UTTLESFORD has become one of the first districts in the east of England to sign up to an initiative to help prevent people becoming homeless.

Uttlesford District Council has signed an agreement with Uttlesford Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) that sets out ways in which they will work together to provide advice and help to people who face losing their homes.

Under the agreement, the agencies will work more closely together to provide early advice, assistance and support both to people at risk of homelessness and those who have already lost their homes, as well as preventing recurring homelessness by helping people secure sustainable accommodation.

Though the economic downturn has driven up repossessions, this new agreement will help Uttlesford cope with any rise in the number of people facing losing their homes.

The agreement formalises arrangements between the CAB and the council, setting out strict timescales for referrals between the two bodies and ensuring each organisation keeps track of what the other is doing to assist anyone who is homeless, or asks for advice on how to prevent themselves from becoming homeless.

UDC's housing options and homeless manager, Judith Snares, said: "This agreement will improve even further the good joint working that the council and the CAB are already doing to help people in need of housing advice.

"We have seen a sharp increase in the number of people coming to us and to the CAB asking for this sort of help due to the current economic conditions. The agreement will be of great benefit to the council, the CAB and to people at risk."

CAB manager, Kate Robson, said "Working closely with the council helps us both to provide a better service for our clients."

The model for the agreement has been developed by the National Homelessness Advice Service (NHAS), a partnership between Citizens Advice and Shelter, with support from the Department for Communities and Local Government, to help local authorities and independent advice agencies to work together to prevent homelessness.

The agreement aims to promote good practice in the way housing advice is provided and sets out minimum standards for how the agencies should work together.

Development officer for the NHAS, Jilly Vickers, said: "We are delighted that the Council and Citizens Advice Bureau in Uttlesford have signed this NHAS Joint Working Agreement. The NHAS warmly welcomes the enhanced service this will bring to people in housing need in Uttlesford.

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