A NEW homeless support service will launch across the borough next year.

North west housing group ForViva has been appointed by Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Cabinet to deliver homeless support services across the borough over the next nine years.

The new service is due to launch in April 2018, when Richmond Court in Chester, which is owned by Sanctuary Group and run by FENW, will close as the borough’s main homeless hostel.

ForViva’s homeless and support service will seek to improve access to both temporary and permanent accommodation, provide more emergency beds for people who find themselves sleeping rough, and support people to help prevent them from becoming homeless.

Preventing homelessness will be central to the new service with hubs across Cheshire West offering advice, information and training to help support people at risk of losing their home.

An outreach service, a Rough Sleeper Hotline, a new web portal for service users and a respite and medical facility for those people who need clinical support will also be provided.

Mediation services will support young people to find a way of remaining with their families instead of ending up homeless.

The news comes after an 18-month consultation with residents, businesses, people who have experienced homelessness, service providers and the voluntary and community sectors.

Cllr Angela Claydon, CWAC cabinet member for housing, said: “We are committed to reducing homelessness across the borough and tackling the root causes.

This new partnership with ForViva aims to do both.

“ForViva has been appointed following a robust selection process and thorough consultation.

“The new contract will join up four existing contracts into one cohesive service that is easy for people to access and there will be a seamless transition for service users.

“As we face new challenges with the roll-out of Universal Credit and the forthcoming Homelessness Reduction Act in April next year, this innovative new service will help us to manage these.”

ForViva owns and manages more than 24,000 homes across the north west.

In July this year the housing group was awarded a 10-year contract to manage 5,500 CWAC-owned homes in Ellesmere Port and Neston, under the brand ForHousing.

Colette McKune, deputy chief executive at ForViva, said: “We are committed to supporting vulnerable people to have a safe and secure home and to gain the skills to build a brighter future for themselves.

“Our goal is to improve people’s lives and to work in partnership with the council to help Cheshire West to thrive.”