Over a thousand people contacted Shropshire Council with concerns about being made homeless last year, new figures show.

The numbers were revealed as the authority considers launching an eight-week consultation on a new strategy aiming to end homelessness in the county by 2029.

A report set to be discussed next week shows the council’s Housing Options service has received an 8.5% increase in queries over the past year from people worried about having nowhere to live.

The council says it received 1,406 applications for homeless support in 2022/23, with 27% of those coming from people threatened with homelessness. Around 70% of applications received were from people who were already on the streets.

The draft rough sleeping strategy is set to focus on early intervention and prevention strategies, with the council hoping to develop a “community and partnership approach” to the issue by collaborating with charities and housing associations.

As part of an ambitious range of measures, the council says it could also consider creating an emergency assessment centre to deal with high priority cases.

“There is a lack of appropriate housing options for people with complex or additional support needs, including those with poor mental health, substance misuse and a history of homelessness and rough sleeping,” it says.

“The most frequently occurring support need is mental health, accounting for 26% of all declared support needs. Other frequently occurring support needs include physical ill health, domestic abuse, and offending history.”

The report adds that the council’s lack of housing stock is creating additional financial pressures on the system, with the authority hoping to end its use of temporary accommodation such as Bed and Breakfasts. The average stay in B&B’s for the past year was 75 days.

The authority says it wants to strengthen its relationships with social housing providers as part of its wider strategy, including the development of a “pre-eviction protocol” for supported housing occupants to reduce the risk of them becoming homeless.

“We aim to prevent homelessness at the earliest opportunity by increasing awareness of the Housing Options Service and other services available to ensure that there is a buy in across all council services and wider stakeholders including landlords (social and private), criminal justice agencies, police and health services and there is a corporate approach to the prevention of homelessness,” the report adds.

“The Homelessness Review identifies that at any one time, there are around 30 to 40 individuals in Shropshire with high levels of support needs and long histories of rough sleeping, often linked to mental health and substance misuse issues.

“We will collaborate with key statutory partners to establish a multi- disciplinary team approach aimed at addressing the underlying support needs of these individuals. Additionally, we will develop supported accommodation options tailored to meet their complex needs, including 24/7 supported accommodation and adopt the Housing First model.”