“TACKLING homelessness must go beyond simply putting a roof on people’s head.”

So says a Test Valley councillor who is urging civic chiefs to tackle all the issues leading to homelessness as part of the authority’s initiatives to reduce the number of people sleeping rough across the borough.

Cllr Phil Bundy, housing and environmental health portfolio holder, said the underlying causes leading to homelessness have to be addressed alongside the council’s work to deliver affordable housing in order to prevent and tackle the issue on a long-term basis.

This comes after, in March this year, the authority approved a pilot scheme to test new ways of preventing and relieving homelessness, investing £100,000 in the process.

As previously reported, the authority has also reached an agreement with Aster Housing Association, Two Saints, Hampshire Constabulary and Hampshire County Council to begin incrementally piloting ‘housing first’ approaches in the area.

Now councillor Bundy has said: “In nearly all cases, people who come to us for advice and support about housing are affected by a range of other factors that have led to the housing situations they are in, such as financial problems, relationship breakdowns or mental health issues.

“We need to work with partners to prevent people becoming homeless in the first place by addressing a range of issues in people’s lives that may be unrelated to housing. Putting a roof over someone’s head should not be the only step that is taken as homelessness is not just a housing problem.”

Residents in need are invited to contact the council on 01264 368000.