PLANS to tackle homelessness and the issues surrounding it have been welcomed by the region's police and crime commissioner.

John Campion, police and crime commissioner for West Mercia, has praised the government’s strategy £100 million national investment in tackling the complex issues surrounding homelessness.

He said: "Homelessness should not be acceptable in a modern society. I welcome the national investment which is taking a holistic approach around the wider complex drivers to homelessness, such as mental health and addictions.

"Homelessness is primarily an issue for local authorities. However some of the wider issues associated to homelessness can be linked to crime and anti-social behaviour and I will continue my work to tackle those issues, with the investments I’ve made at a local level helping those genuinely in need.”

As part of the government's strategy, about £30 million will be spent on mental health help and treatment for substance misuse.

Specialist "navigators" will help rough sleepers to access services and accommodation.

The commissioner has invested in a number of projects to help homeless people including addiction services Addaction in Herefordshire and Shropshire, Telford STaRS, Swanswell in Worcestershire and Shropshire Recovery Partnership.

He has also supported YSS, which helps refer young people who have become homeless to housing services.

In Shrewsbury, partners including West Mercia Police, Shropshire Council, ARK and the Shrewsbury Street Pastors came together to set up HOST (Homeless Outreach Street Triage) to visit people on the streets, fast track help and support and promote Alternative Giving Schemes. They were given a commendation award for their success which included reducing the number of homeless people on the streets into single figures and helping an elderly man who had been homeless for 40 years find accommodation.