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'It could encourage him to stay in the area' - council officer warns against helping homeless man

PUBLISHED: 18:01 16 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:16 19 October 2019

North Norfolk District Council's housing options manager, Lisa Grice. Picture: ARCHANT.

North Norfolk District Council's housing options manager, Lisa Grice. Picture: ARCHANT.

Archant

A council officer has discouraged people from supporting a homeless man in Fakenham, but said temporary accommodation will be offered in extreme weather.

A rough sleeper, who appeared in Fakenham about two weeks ago, is believed to be originally from south Norfolk.

On Wednesday, at a North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) overview and scrutiny committee meeting, the council's rough sleeping strategy was discussed.

During the meeting, it was heard how people in Fakenham had been discussing on social media way to support the homeless man, including providing a tent and warm clothes.

MORE: Meet Matthew - the rough sleeper who has stolen the hearts of a Norfolk market town

Lisa Grice, the housing options manager that formed the homelessness and rough sleeping strategy, said: "We have been working with the man and have offered to pay his taxi fair back to south Norfolk, which he declined.

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"South Norfolk Council offered him accommodation but he did not turn up, so that offer was taken away."

NNDC has seen an increase of rough sleepers over the last three years with two in 2016, five in 2017 and nine in 2018.

Now the council will work with the mental health trust and local prison to produce a Homelessness Prevention Protocol, to help people land back on their feet.

Mrs Grice added: "People in Fakenham have been offering him food and tents to make sure he is not sleeping too rough but this could be encouraging him to stay in the area.

"If the weather was to get extreme then they would put him up but then refer him back to South Norfolk."

The Homeless Act 2002 requires all local authorities to undertake a review of homelessness in their area and publish a strategy based upon the findings of the review every five years.

NNDC are also planning to increase access to good quality accommodation in the private rented sector, this means a private rented sector officer will work with landlords to provide a range of suitable options for homeless clients.

The strategy is currently in a public consultation period with the hope of it going to full council on December, 2

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