IMPROVED ways of working will now ensure that help is at hand for anyone threatened with homelessness, says the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

The event was facilitated by Shelter Cymru. Representatives from Gwalia, Wales and West Homes, Atal-y-Fro and a number of other organisations working in the Vale all participated in workshop sessions.

Cllr Andrew Parker, cabinet member for Housing, opened the event and explained that the Vale Council is creating a "modern safety net".

He said: "Joint working arrangements are vital if we are to realise our ambition of eliminating homelessness in the Vale. Our housing team are at the forefront of tackling the issue but the reality is that without the support of a wide range of partners we simply could not deliver a modern service.

“In recent years we have been able to shift our work from crisis management to prevention. This has had a massive impact on hundreds of lives. In line with recent changes in legislation we are creating a modern safety net that will see no one is turned away without help. As part of this work the Council is required to undertake a homelessness review and produce a homelessness strategy.

"We want this to be as robust and informed as possible and this is why we invited Shelter Cymru to host this event. The feedback and suggestions we received will now be distilled into a new, and with the assistance of those present on the day, improve strategy for the Vale.”

One focus of the event was an analysis of the views of those that have sought assistance from the council’s homelessness team in recent months. These were gathered by an independent survey of service users undertaken by Gwalia.

Mark Lawrence, homelessness consultant from Shelter Cymru, said: “The survey results show what a good job is already being done in the Vale, largely as a result of good working relationships between all the agencies involved. Service users are telling us that the council’s team treat them with respect, dignity and offer advice in a simple and non-judgemental fashion.

"Such good customer service in what are often very challenging circumstances is commendable and shows what a solid platform we have to build on.”

The Vale Council will publish its new homelessness strategy later this year.