The most visible form of homelessness involves people who are seen living on the streets, but the issue of homelessness is much broader than that, including, for example, people living in overcrowded or temporary accommodation or households who are threatened with eviction.
Anyone can become homeless, but issues such as unemployment, poor physical and mental health, alcohol and substance misuse, relationship breakdown, and combinations of all these, will increase the risk of someone losing a home and of being unable to quickly find another.
Tackling poverty is critical, particularly childhood poverty, which can have a lasting impact on a person’s life. It is widely understood that there is a correlation between young people’s childhood experiences and homelessness in later life – often referred to as ‘adverse childhood experiences’ (ACEs). A Public Health England report describes three direct experiences (verbal abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse) and six indirect experiences (parental separation, domestic violence, mental illness, alcohol abuse, drug use and imprisonment) that have an impact on childhood development. 50% of homeless people generally have four or more ACEs.
This new five-year Strategy confirms Teignbridge District Council’s commitment to preventing and relieving homelessness and rough sleeping, and sets out how we will work with our partners to meet our objectives.
It is an ambitious strategy, written at a time of uncertainty as to the long term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which may put more people at risk of homelessness. Close collaboration with partners in responding to the crisis has, however, allowed us to explore new and innovative solutions, and different ways of working. Our proposed actions and approach to preventing and relieving homelessness have been developed in this context.