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East Devon District Council: Homelessness Strategy consultation

In East Devon, addressing homelessness and rough sleeping has been a pressing concern for the council. With a surge in homelessness approaches and a challenging housing market, the council had been actively working on reshaping their homelessness service to adapt to these evolving challenges- this includes running an online consultation to shape their new strategy.

Project goal: Gather views on the draft strategy to shape the next iteration.

Launch date: 28 November 2023

Next steps: Present the revised Strategy to the Cabinet for approval and published by April 2024

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East Devon District Council: Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy consultation

Pre-Commonplace Engagement

Before the Commonplace engagement website was launched, the Housing Options team had made significant strides in the past three years:

  1. Prevention Success: The team prevented almost 1,300 households from becoming homeless.

  2. Accommodation Support: Approximately 650 individuals were assisted in finding accommodation from homeless situations.

  3. Temporary Accommodation: An 8-bed property was acquired for temporary accommodation, with plans for another in the pipeline.

  4. Rough Sleeper Management: The council effectively kept rough sleeper numbers relatively low through intensive community support provided by staff, volunteers, local charities, police, and healthcare services.

  5. Private-Sector Collaboration: Collaboration with private-sector landlords was initiated to reduce the risk of evictions.

The council conducted also conducted focus groups with local partners to identify key areas to address. The outcome of these focus groups highlighted the necessity of maximizing prevention activities, supporting tenancy sustainability, increasing the range of accommodation solutions, and ultimately ending rough sleeping. This was then used to shape the draft strategy and questions on the engagement website.

The Commonplace Engagement

The online consultation aimed to gather opinions on the draft strategy from as many people as possible. The strategy document was made available on the website, along with two separate surveys for individuals and organisations. The simplicity and effectiveness of having all the information in one location, with reminders for respondents to review the draft strategy before providing feedback, facilitated a streamlined engagement process.

Focus Areas:

  1. Maximizing Prevention: The consultation emphasized the importance of prevention activities and sustaining existing tenancies.

  2. Diverse Accommodation Solutions: Respondents highlighted the need to increase the range of available accommodation solutions.

  3. Ending Rough Sleeping: A key focus was on strategies to put an end to rough sleeping in the district.

Results and Next Steps:

The survey results, currently under analysis, are expected to provide invaluable data to inform the strategy. The commitment to transparency is evident, as the results will be made available for public viewing. The council aims to present the finalized strategy to the Cabinet for approval, with the goal of publishing it on their website by April 2024.


The Commonplace engagement website played a pivotal role in fostering community involvement and gathering diverse perspectives on the homelessness and rough sleeper strategy. By leveraging the online platform, the council efficiently reached a wide audience, ensuring that both individuals and organizations could contribute meaningfully to the development of the strategy. As East Devon continues its dedicated efforts to address homelessness, the Commonplace engagement website serves as a testament to the power of community engagement in shaping impactful and inclusive solutions.

For more details on the Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy consultation, please visit the Commonplace website: Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy Consultation. To explore how Commonplace can help you build your own community engagement website, consider booking a demo with us. Community engagement is a powerful tool, and Commonplace is here to empower your initiatives and projects.

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