A multi-agency forum is taking place later this week, bringing authorities and agencies together to tackle problems of rough sleeping and associated problems in Taunton.
Taunton Deane Borough Council is working closely with partners including Avon and Somerset Police, Somerset County Council, Taunton Association for the Homeless (TAH), Open Door and local businesses to find ways to reduce the issues affecting the town centre.
“I can assure our community that much has been done – and is being done – to find solutions that work,” said Leader John Williams.
“Much of this work is done below the radar so many people perhaps do not always appreciate the amount of effort that’s being made. We are working together to look at what we are doing – and what we can do.
“Homelessness is a national issue and the reasons for people living on the streets are complex.
“These could include family breakdown, welfare and benefits changes, and mental health issues - some have serious problems with addiction which may have led to their eviction from accommodation.
“The meeting with our partners is being called so that we can identify and address the issues that I know are of real concern to our residents and businesses. We are very far from being complacent and want to tackle these issues head on and we all have a part to play.”
Police sergeant Andy Gloyn said: “We are encouraged and pleased to see plans for the meeting to tackle the issue of rough sleeping in Taunton.
“We have been working with our colleagues at Taunton Deane Borough Council, Taunton Association for the Homeless, Open Door and local businesses to tackle the problem.
“And from our point of view, we have been targeting and dealing positively with criminality and working with partners to address the issues affecting those who have been stuck in a cycle of homelessness.
“While we have been dealing with the criminal offences for some time, the need to address the causes is paramount and we hope this week’s forum will lay firm foundations for dealing with the wider problem,” said PS Gloyn
Initiatives undertaken so far include: