The Chief Minister has said the Isle of Man is perhaps too small for ‘just-in-case housing’.
Alfred Cannan was answering a question in the House of Keys on Tuesday about accommodation options for homeless people and what additional provision is being made available.
He explained that accommodation is available through adult social care and the government is able to provide immediate shelter and comfort to those who find themselves homeless for ‘all manner of reasons’.
‘The island is perhaps too small to hold a stock of “just in case” housing however it does have a range of options designed to expedite displaced individuals or families into more permanent housing solutions,’ Mr Cannan said.
‘The Manx Housing Trust manages and maintains a portfolio of housing stock for those who find themselves in need and are awaiting housing in public sector stock.
‘The Housing and Communities Board are also focused on a holistic approach to understanding need, what the long term requirements of an individual who finds themselves homeless might be, and not just the immediate necessities of overnight shelter.’
Mr Cannan added that the government’s homelessness strategy is in progress, which will be carried out by a ‘strategic partnership’.
He said: ‘Some of you may have seen the announcement that a strategic partnership has been formed between the Isle of Man Salvation Army, Praxis Care Isle of Man, Housing Matters, and the Isle of Man Government to collaboratively produce and oversee the implementation of a homelessness prevention strategy.
‘The strategic partnership will see the charities work with the Housing and Communities Board to further develop a practical strategy for addressing homelessness, including an action plan with objectives.’
Arbory, Castletown and Malew MHK Jason Moorhouse referenced the Manx Independent front page on March 9 about a vulnerable man who had to stay in the prison because he had nowhere else to go, saying it seems the provision of suitable shelter is not available.
He asked how many houses are available and said the public needs reassurance there is housing out there people can use.
Mr Cannan said: ‘In an emergency those who find themselves with no access to temporary shelter should contact adult social care on 686179, who can provide immediate respite and signposting for a longer term arrangement.
‘I find it disconcerting that members are picking up individual cases. Everybody in here will know homelessness is a complex issue and attached to complex needs.
‘Our job is to provide immediate support where possible and then to try and understand and provide the pathways and the support needed for those individuals and families to get back on their feet.
‘The important thing is to get a roof over somebody’s head.’
He explained that solutions in this area need to be ‘well thought through’.
‘A strategic partnership is not just about dealing with problems of today, it’s also about helping those facing this problem tomorrow and well into the future,’ he said.