A Cambridge City Council website

Cambridge City Council

Council and democracy

Home > Council and Democracy > Decision details

Decision details

Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy 2021 – 2026

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing and Homelessness

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No


The draft strategy sets out the Council’s 5-year plan to ensure that we are able to fully advise, assist and, where appropriate, help arrange accommodation for, households and individuals presenting to us who are facing or experiencing homelessness. A key part of the strategy sets out the Council’s plan to ensure we are able to make a realistic accommodation offer to any eligible person sleeping rough in Cambridge.


This item was chaired by Councillor Mike Todd-Jones


Public Questions


A member of the public (representing ‘It Takes a City (Cambridge)’) asked a question as set out below.


      i.          Supported the strategy as it would help rough sleepers.

     ii.          Asked the council to consider some additions to the Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy:

a.    Reduce rough sleeping target to zero.

b.    Collaborate with the public, private and third sectors.

c.    Could all partners jointly own the Strategy and share actions.


The Executive Councillor said he would be happy to follow up with officers on how to develop the Strategy going forward.


Councillor Bick, speaking as a Ward Councillor raised the following points:

      i.          Welcomed the report and Strategy.

     ii.          Was seeking a joined up approach to address issues.

   iii.          The adoption of the street to home approach would be of particular help to entrenched rough sleepers through support for individuals by a link worker.

   iv.          There was concern that the County Council would close hostels, but they had stepped back from this. The County Council were looking to work with the City Council to ensure a strategy was in place before funding was withdrawn.

    v.          The ambition was to reduce rough sleeping numbers, but this would involve dealing with people with complicated issues who were sometimes hard to engage.

   vi.          The city was a magnet that attracted people to get money for substance addictions, which stopped them getting homes and jobs. This needed to be addressed to get to zero rough sleepers.

 vii.          Members of the public wanted to help the homeless community, but did not always know how to. Queried how to educate them and show links to voluntary groups.


The Executive Councillor responded:

      i.          Signposted priorities in the Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy to address rough sleeping and the complicated issues associated with it such as begging.

     ii.          The Strategy was looking at advice, support and enforcement actions that could be undertaken with partner organisations such as the Police.

   iii.          The public made enquiries about how to help people seen begging:

a.    Ways to give education information (eg webpages) were being reviewed.

b.    A future Communication Strategy was being considered (with partner organisations) on how to do this.


The Committee gave a formal vote of thanks from to the Housing Services Manager and colleagues for their work to tackle homelessness.


Matter for Decision

The Council is required by law to produce a Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy. This requirement is provided for in the Homelessness Act 2002 (as amended). 


Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

      i.          Approved the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy (2021-26) and the year one and two action plan as appended to the officer’s report

     ii.          Delegated authority to the Head of Housing to approve annual reiterations of the strategy action plans at years 3,4 and 5 of the strategy in consultation with the Executive Councillor

   iii.          Agreed than an update on progress made in delivering objectives outlined in this strategy was brought to Housing Scrutiny Committee on a yearly basis.


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.


Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.


Scrutiny Considerations


The Committee received a report from the Housing Services Manager.


The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

      i.          Many homeless women were ‘hidden’ as they sofa surfed instead of living on the streets.

     ii.          80% of rough sleepers were men and 20% were women, so services were geared towards men.

   iii.          Women were often homeless due to domestic abuse, so were a vulnerable group, which should be reflected in the Strategy.

   iv.          Separate male and female accommodation should be provided in homeless accommodation.

    v.          Queried how the LGBT community were affected by homelessness.

   vi.          There were people who resisted coming off the street. Different solutions were needed to get people off the street and address anti-social behaviour such as campfires and drug abuse.

 vii.          The pods were a good idea. Queried if they could be set up in all city wards. Asked Ward Councillors to recommend areas where pods could be built.


The Head of Housing said the following in response to Members’ questions:

      i.          There were many reasons why homeless figures fluctuated such as inward migration. A target to achieve zero homeless people could be set, but it would be hard to achieve.

     ii.          Jimmy’s Homeless Shelter would provide an exceptions report to show the rate of homelessness to the County Council who were responsible for monitoring it.

   iii.          The City Council would support people moving from hostels to private rented or local authority housing.

   iv.          One pod will be allocated specifically for a LGBT person’s use. Officers would look at LGBT needs separately, this did not require a change to the Officer’s recommendation.

    v.          Homelessness was a wider issue than just rough sleeping.


Councillor Martinelli requested a change to the recommendation in the Officer’s report :

2.3 Agree that an update on progress with this strategy is brought to Housing Scrutiny Committee on a yearly basis.


This was amended by Councillor Sheil (with Councillor Martinelli agreement) to:


2.3 Agree that an update on progress made in delivering objectives outlined in this strategy is brought to Housing Scrutiny Committee on a yearly basis.


The Committee unanimously approved this additional recommendation.


The Committee resolved unanimously to endorse the recommendations as amended.


The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations as amended.


Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.

Publication date: 18/05/2021

Date of decision: 19/01/2021