An ambitious plan to end homelessness in Enfield has been signed off by the council’s top brass.

The local authority will focus on intervening early to stop people from becoming homeless, so it no longer needs to place residents in temporary accommodation.

It sees the private rental sector as a solution to the homelessness problem and aims to boost the supply of this accommodation using the council-owned Housing Gateway company.

Described as a “step change” in approach by the council leader, the new Preventing Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy was approved by cabinet members on Wednesday (December 4),

The report says the rate of homelessness in Enfield has soared by 250 per cent since 2011 – partly due to government welfare reforms such as Universal Credit and a cap on benefits.

Enfield has the second-highest number of people in temporary accommodation in the country and had the fourth-highest rough sleeper count in London in 2018.

The main cause of homelessness in the borough is eviction from private rented sector accommodation.

Council staff now plan to use data to identify residents who are at risk of becoming homeless and intervene “at the earliest opportunity” before problems start to snowball.

Working alongside the voluntary sector, it will ensure residents have training and support before their tenancies start and are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

Rather than paying private landlords incentives to let their properties, the council plans to fund the deposit and month’s rent in advance for people who cannot do so themselves.

Ending the use of temporary accommodation to house people who have become homeless is expected to save the council more than £1 million per year.

Council leader Cllr Nesil Caliskan (Labour, Jubilee) told the cabinet meeting: “This is a step change – it is different to what the administration was doing and indicates we are going in another direction.

“Part of that is acknowledging the private sector is here and it is not serving residents well. We have to engage with the private rented sector far earlier than we do.

“What this strategy says is if you think you are going to become homeless, it is ok to go to John Wilkes House and say you need help before you get an eviction notice.

“This strategy says prevention is the best thing we can do as a local authority.”