A councillor for Poole Town has urged BCP to do more to tackle the rising homelessness in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area.
Cllr Andy Hadley’s comments come after The Office of National Statistics revealed that over 2,000 households have been identified as ‘at risk of homelessness.’
Cllr Hadley said: “It (homelessness) can affect anyone and a lot of that comes to debt.
“One of the real challenges at the moment is the amount of food banks because people can’t afford the basics of life.
“A step from that is that they can’t afford rent and suddenly they find themselves on the street.
he added, ” I think it’s a great shame and these people can rebuild their lives if you give them a chance and the first step towards that is putting a roof over their heads,”.
Cllr Hadley has appealed to the council to take proactive and preventative actions and to collaborate with key homelessness charities within Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.
Cllr Hazel Allen, BCP’s lead member for homelessness, believes that Bournemouth has a good track record of dealing with homelessness, as long as people come for help early.
She said:”You can’t always prevent someone becoming homeless. I honestly think that if people know there is support and they are encouraged to come forward early then we have a very good record of preventing homelessness.”
One of the major issues identified by both Cllrs Hadley and Allen is that sometimes the issue of homelessness isn’t approached with enough empathy.
“It’s just incredibly challenging,” says Cllr Allen.
“To get that balance of empathy right and actually why should we judge them when they have an addiction problem?
“I’ve worked with patients with addiction issues for years. Don’t judge, these people usually have a history of trauma.”