26 Jul 2023

Senior councillors in Leeds agree new strategy to tackle homelessness

Homelessness Housing

A refresh of the Leeds homelessness and rough sleeping strategy has been approved by senior councillors, reinforcing the council’s ambitions to ensure that Leeds is a compassionate city where services work together to prevent and relieve homelessness.

At today’s (Wednesday 26 July) meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board at Civic Hall, councillors approved the report that outlines the council’s strategy for tackling homelessness in the city for the next five years.

The refreshed city-wide approach outlined in Leeds City Council’s homelessness and rough sleeping strategy aims to prevent homelessness and help those at risk to access the right support at the right time to enable them to move on to a permanent home to reduce instances of repeat homelessness.

In the past year, around 6,500 households across Leeds have approached the council for advice and support to prevent them becoming homeless and this number has increased year on year. In 80% of these cases the council has been able to deliver a positive outcome, which is higher than the national average of 54%.

However, the council is not complacent and more needs to be done to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. Successful delivery of the strategy is an integral part of the council’s commitment to achieving the best outcomes for people across Leeds in line with the Best City Ambition.

Leeds City Council worked closely with partners to develop the strategy, carrying out extensive consultation to ensure the voices of the wider sector and those with lived experience of homelessness were central in the development of the strategy.

The Homelessness Act 2002 requires all housing authorities to produce a cross service homelessness strategy which must be renewed at least every five years showing how homelessness will be prevented and addressed.

The strategy sets out four key ambitions to address homelessness and rough sleeping across the city;

  1. Universal Prevention sets out the council’s aim to ensure that there is clear and accessible information of housing options across the city to ensure anyone facing homelessness in Leeds has access to the right information.
  2. Targeted Prevention outlines how the council aims to identify people who are higher risk of repeat homelessness at the earliest opportunity.
  3. To deliver Intervention and recovery though strong city partnership working to ensure any instances of rough sleeping are rare, brief and non-recurrent.
  4. Delivering an intergrated approach to developing the council’s housing support model to ensure the right mix of housing options are available to support those facing homelessness.

The report also highlights the good work undertaken to tackle homelessness across the city.

Including the promotion and development of ‘Advice Aid’ and online tool allowing people to access self-help. In the first year over 2,500 people have accessed the site for self-help, building on the council’s ambitions to develop an early intervention model and encourage customer contact with the council as early as possible.

As well as purchase of 30 properties across Leeds, through the rough sleeper accommodation programme providing accommodation and intensive support to those most in need.

The council's track record of consistently placing extremely low numbers of housing applicants in temporary accommodation, Leeds has one of the lowest numbers of applicants in temporary accommodation compared to other core cities.

Councillor Jessica Lennox, Leeds City Council’s executive member for housing, said, “Homelessness and rough sleeping are really complex issues and ones that this council are dedicated to tackling.

“That means we need to be proactive ensuring that everyone has access to clear information and support around housing options prior to them not having a roof over their head as well as working with partners to ensure any instances of rough sleeping are rare, brief and non-recurrent.

“A significant part of the successful delivery of this strategy is the strong city-wide partnerships we have in Leeds, and I would like to extend my thanks to all those organisations that have contributed to the development and delivery of this strategy.

“I am proud of the good work taking place in Leeds Housing Options and the service the council provides however I am not complacent and will work to ensure that the council meets its ambitions set out in the strategy over the next five years.”

To see the strategy and supporting report, visit Council and democracy (leeds.gov.uk) (agenda item 15).


For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team