More than half a million pounds of funding has been secured by the council to tackle homelessness in Barnet.

Housing committee chairman Cllr Gabriel Rozenberg announced on Monday (April 1) that the Government had pledged £533,000 to help reduce homelessness across the borough.

It came as the council launched a five-year plan to reduce levels of homelessness and rough sleeping in Barnet.

Cllr Rozenberg said: “We are delighted to have received additional funding.

“This money will be put to good use, improving the lives of some of our most vulnerable residents.”

The Homelessness and Rough Sleeping strategy features plans to prevent 6,000 at-risk households from becoming homeless by 2024 by improving the advice and support offered by the council’s social housing arm, Barnet Homes.

It also aims to reduce the number of households in temporary accommodation by building more affordable homes

Greater support will be provided for vulnerable groups at risk of becoming homeless, such as care leavers, victims of domestic abuse and people with mental health problems.

Barnet’s rate of homelessness is the ninth-lowest in London, at 2.88 per 1,000 people.

The council has struggled to meet its target to prevent homelessness since the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 increased the amount of paperwork to be dealt with by council officers.

But the figure has improved since the previous meeting and Cllr Rozenberg told the committee the direction of travel was “positive”.

Labour councillors welcomed the strategy but criticised some of the targets for not being ambitious enough.

Cllr Ross Houston, Labour member for West Finchley, said the council should be looking to reduce the number of households in temporary accommodation by two-thirds rather than one-third by 2024.

But Cllr Laithe Jajeh, Conservative member for Hale, said it was better to exceed targets that are realistic rather than set targets that cannot be achieved.

Labour amendments proposing more ambitious targets were defeated when put to a vote.

The Homelessness and Rough Sleeping strategy was then approved, with Labour members abstaining and Conservative members voting in favour.