The Isle of Wight Council is set to give extra focus on housing needs and homelessness.

Councillor Ian Stephens, the council’s deputy leader, is to support Councillor Karl Love in his new role as Cabinet member for adult social care, public health and housing needs — focusing on the latter.

Councillor Love said splitting the housing needs responsibility from within the portfolio would “significantly strengthen and improve” the new administration’s engagement and transparency in responding to the housing needs of Islanders.

Councillor Love maintains overall responsibility for the portfolio.

He said: “I’m very excited to be the new Cabinet member for adult social care and I’m looking forward to taking on the tasks and challenges ahead.

“I believe it is in the very best interests of our Island people to create a separate responsibility for housing needs and thank Councillor Stephens for his support. He brings a wealth of experience in local government to the role.

“Together, with our Alliance Group colleagues, we will be working hard for the benefit of the whole Island community.”

Councillor Stephens said: “We need to make sure that the policies and direction of travel are fit for purpose and will support a wide range of those in need.

“Funding to support activity is crucial, as is the focus on each individual need. Providing the right support at the right time can be so important in preventing homelessness.”

As Cabinet member for adult social care, Councillor Love provides political oversight of the council’s biggest area of expenditure — and one of its most challenging with significant resource reductions and rising needs.

One of his first actions will be to call on the government to commit further funding to the Island to improve targeted support for those who need it most, allowing more residents to enjoy independent lives in their own homes.

He said: “The government must deliver the promised funding review.

“I did inherit my mother’s prudence — she was able to make a little go a long way and I’m hoping that I can do the same. The simple fact is we must receive more government investment as we are stretched to a critical limit.”

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