An ambitious strategy to reduce the numbers of rough sleepers in Swindon has been approved by members of the Health and Wellbeing Board.

The Board is made up of representatives from Swindon Borough Council and key partners such as the Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS England and others.

The Reducing Rough Sleepers Strategy, which sets out the Council’s plan to work with its partners to reduce the numbers of rough sleepers in the town, was approved by the board last week and will be brought before the Council’s Cabinet for final ratification.

Five strategic priorities have been identified to help deliver the Strategy. They are: to ensure that nobody arrives on the streets in the first place, that a rapid response is available if people do end up on the streets, to provide an outreach service for those with complex needs, to develop a range of accommodation and support services tailored to individual needs and to ensure that, once housed, nobody should return to the streets.

The Strategy commits the Council to work with its partners to develop rapid assessment and intervention framework to prevent people having to spend nights on the street.

Each individual rough sleeper will be given a Personal Housing Plan which provides support specially tailored to the needs of the individual, with the aim of reconnecting them with society and getting them into safe and secure accommodation.

The Council already provides a range of homelessness support initiatives – from the Temporary Winter Housing project to the provision of accommodation for those who are homeless – and the Reducing Rough Sleepers Strategy will act as a vital tool in bringing together all the different aspects of homelessness support.

Last year, the Government published its Rough Sleeper Strategy which aims to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and eradicate it completely by 2027.

Councillor Cathy Martyn, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Safety, said: “Ensuring that proper support is in place for rough sleepers, and everyone who is experiencing housing difficulties, is a top priority for this Council and the Health and Wellbeing Board’s approval of the Reducing Rough Sleepers Strategy is a huge step forward.

“Rough sleepers are some of the most vulnerable people in our community and we are committed to doing all we can to help get people off the streets and into safe, secure and long-term accommodation.

“I would like to thank everybody who has been involved in putting this Strategy together and we will continue to work with our partners to reduce the numbers of rough sleepers in Swindon.”