Barnet Council has set out a new strategy aimed at tackling homelessness in the borough.

The local authority wants to prevent 6,000 at-risk households from becoming homeless by 2024 by improving the advice and support offered by its social housing arm Barnet Homes.

It has also outlined plans to work closely with other agencies through a homelessness forum, designed to stop people who have previously been homeless from becoming homeless again.

The proposals were set out in a draft homelessness strategy presented to the council’s housing committee yesterday (Wednesday, October 10).

Faisal Butt, the council’s commissioning lead on housing, said it was important to work with other groups to combat the root causes of homelessness.

He said doing so would “help to tackle homelessness much earlier to stop it materialising”.

The forum will focus on providing employment, welfare and mental health support to families at risk of becoming homeless.

Cllr Thomas Smith, Conservative member for Oakleigh, said: “I fully support, in particular, preventing homelessness.

“As part of that, it is surely incredibly important residents know the options open to them. That is one of the very first hurdles.”

The council aims to reduce the number of households living in temporary accommodation by over a third, from 2,759 to a target of 1,750 by 2024.

It also plans to provide an extra 500 affordable homes during the same time period.

Cllr Ross Houston, Labour member for West Finchley, said the homelessness forum was a good idea but added that the council should do more to provide affordable homes.

He said: “Having more affordable alternatives really does help in terms of reducing the pressure, and I think we should be imaginative about that.

“Rather than going to the market, we have to be imaginative in terms of procuring accommodation.”

Councillors voted unanimously to approve the homelessness and rough sleeping strategy.

The strategy will go out to a public consultation running from November 2018 to February 2019.