Hamilton House occupation ends peacefully
11 October 2019The group that had been occupying Hamilton House left peacefully last night within the 24-hour notice period of the Interim Possession Order (IPO) being served. A full clean-up of Hamilton House will now begin, including the removal of any items left behind that pose a health and safety risk, and our officers will work to ensure the building is made secure.
Six members of the group took up the Council’s offer of support and met with officers to speak about their individual needs yesterday. This is in addition to the multiple that spoke with housing support officers throughout the week, with two turning down the offer that was made.
Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Growth, said: “It was good to see some of the people who I met at Hamilton House last week, meeting with housing officers yesterday. The offer of support is still available – I hope more will come along to the hub soon to chat about their needs. There is no quick fix - there is a queue for beds in supported housing and for more permanent social housing too. We are always looking for properties to house homeless people. If you are a landlord and have properties available then please get in touch.
“Clearly this is a complex issue, and like everyone else we don’t want people to have to live on our streets. We need more houses and we need people to have access to support services where funding is increasing, not decreasing. Until then homelessness will continue to be a national crisis that is getting worse, not better.
“Homelessness is directly linked to the impact of austerity and the lack of adequate and long term funding for mental health and addiction services. This is leaving police and housing officers and health professionals on the front line of a system that should be about changing lives and not about managing a crisis. Anyone who has ever tried to support a homeless person will know that the system is stressful to navigate for those who need help and for those who work in it everyday. That’s why we continue to heavily value the support we receive from our partners in the voluntary and faith sectors - especially in Chester and Northwich - without whom this situation would be even worse.
“In the coming weeks we will review some of the local provision and will make sure that service users, staff and community groups are able to contribute their ideas as part of this.”
Janet Lawton, Homelessness and Contract Management Lead at forfutures, said: “The facility at Hamilton House provides a vital service for so many people across Chester who are either homeless or facing becoming homeless. It allows us to provide a one-to-one assessment of someone’s needs and build a package of support that can help them move away from life on the streets into a safe and secure home.
“We continue to work with our partners to bring an end to homelessness.”
The Council is running an engagement on the Homelessness Strategy that invites service users, residents, businesses and volunteer groups to give their views on how Cheshire West and Chester Council should provide effective support for homeless people over the next five years.
The 12-week consultation on the strategy runs until 1 November 2019, and suggests a set of five key priorities along with actions to deliver these.
For information and to share your views in an online survey visit the Council's website.
To obtain a paper copy of the survey or to share your views: