CIVIC chiefs have revealed a draft strategy to help with a commitment to end rough sleeping in the Winchester district within the next four years.

Members of the Winchester City Council business and housing policy committee were presented with the initial strategy, which focused on improved communication between support groups, getting early intervention in place, and ensuring there is adequate housing in the district.

A report, which went before the committee on Tuesday evening, set out council has a commitment “to reduce rough sleeping in the Winchester City Centre by 2020 and to end rough sleeping within the Winchester district by 2023”.

A Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government strategy published last year set out a nationwide ambition to eradicate rough sleeping by 2027.

That commitment follow rough sleeping incidents increasing from 98 in 2016-17 to 135 in 2017-18. The report found “29 were deemed to be new to the streets, 11 entrenched and 95 were returning rough sleepers”.

Turning to the future strategy, the report said: “Building and resourcing homes will not meet housing need alone. The development of more cohesive communities and ensuring that all residents have the opportunity to experience civic pride is vital.

“All departments and services need to recognise that for us to really understand the needs of those facing homelessness in the district we need to establish the root cause of an individual’s situation, consider trauma and multiple needs that are not being addressed and provide strengths based approaches to improve their quality of life.

“We need support to be available to individuals at the right place, right time and in the right way.

It specifically set out four priorities: provide early intervention and support to prevent homelessness; promoting systems change through partnership arrangements; ensuring sufficient supply of accommodation; provide the right support and services so that no person needs to sleep rough in Winchester.