News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Flintshire Council staff set to be trained in family mediation to help prevent homelessness

Council staff in Flintshire are set to be trained in mediation in order to help prevent homelessness.

It follows new figures being published which show that family disputes are one of the leading reasons why people lose the roof over their heads in the county.

Parents or relatives no longer wishing to provide accommodation was stated as the main cause in just over a fifth of all cases of homelessness in the last 12 months.

A report due to be considered by councillors also shows that 244 young people approached the local authority during the year because they had nowhere to stay.

As a result, staff are now set to be given the skills to resolve family breakdowns to stop homeless numbers from spiralling.

A senior officer said a key part of the council’s prevention strategy was to understand the underlying causes of rough sleeping.

Neal Cockerton, chief officer for housing and assets, said: “The homelessness strategy objectives are to prevent homelessness and ensure suitable accommodation and satisfactory support is available for those who are homeless.

“One of the actions in the local action plan was to gain a better understanding of why tenancies are ending and the reasons behind homelessness in our county.

“To be able to improve the outcomes for clients who become homeless or are at risk of homelessness through the breakdown of relationships with parents or family, mediation services can prove very effective as a prevention tool.

“Training is being arranged for the housing solutions team to ensure staff are skilled in this area for all cases where this is appropriate.”

Another significant cause identified by the authority was the number of people leaving prison who find themselves homeless.

Last year, just under a tenth of cases were directly linked to prison leavers.

As a result,  Flintshire has a dedicated staff member in place who worked with 42 inmates before their release to reduce the risk of them becoming homeless in the last 12 months.

Meanwhile, mental health issues have also been identified as a priority to address.

Mr Cockerton added: “In 2018/19, just over 41 per cent of triages completed indicated the applicant had mental health concerns.

“The service is working with colleagues in adult social services to secure the provision of a mental health worker in the housing solutions team.

“This will help the service to better understand the issues our customers are faced with, understand how this may impact the way we deliver our services and provide better support to those suffering a mental health issue and faced with homelessness.”

The council’s action plan to tackle homelessness will be considered by members of its community and enterprise scrutiny committee on Wednesday.

By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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