Agenda item

Progress on the Homelessness Prevention and Rough Sleeper Strategy 2019-2022

To receive an update report and action plan in respect of the Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy 2019-2022.


Consideration was given to an update presentation in respect of progress against the Homelessness and Rough Sleepers Strategy 2019-2022. The presentation illustrated the local picture in terms of prevention and crisis intervention. The demand had remained high; people are presenting in crisis when they have lost their accommodation. This created pressure on temporary accommodations. Although numbers have reduced, caseloads have increased. A breakdown of open homelessness cases was presented. The team had implemented a growing emphasis on prevention, proactively working to encourage people to access other options such as going on the housing registry. A breakdown of themes was also provided. Links with other strategies such as the domestic abuse strategy were also noted in the description of the service’s focus on prevention. It was noted that stays in hotels for families was a last resort for temporary housing accommodation. An update on the move-on pathway was also provided. The presentation also included a description of challenges and projected future demands. It was noted that the housing review responded to recommendations issued by past scrutiny, leading to several temporary contracts having been made permanent. The aim of the service to refresh the strategy and the live consultation survey were noted. Further key aims of the strategy and related actions were illustrated.  These aims were:

·       Aim 1 - Support people with Complex Needs

·       Aim 2 – To prevent homelessness and offer rapid housing solution to get people in urgent need rehoused quicker.

·       Aim 3 – To increase support for young people to prevent homelessness

·       Aim 4 – End Rough sleeping and begging

·       Aim 5 – To improve access to tenancy support, employment, and health support services.

·       Aim 6 – A range of options of decent emergency accommodation.

In discussion, Members requested additional information around how people access private housing properties, noting the seriously complex cases. It was clarified that, when it comes to evictions due to private landlords wanting to sell the property, if possible and appropriate, the council does attempt to acquire the property.


Members expressed interest in knowing more about how the service assists families with children of school age who need clean clothing on a regular basis. The response from officers noted that, in temporary accommodation, the service tried to keep laundry processing to a minimum, but in moved-on accommodation, people have their own washing facilities.


Members lauded the service as gold standard, and the work with Shiloh was praised. Clarification was requested around action taken to encourage more options for those who are seeking a private route to tenancy. A detailed answer emphasised signposting to the available services and provision rather than giving funds, and it was noted that lessons learned would be considered in the strategy refresh. It was noted that, when the service receives calls, the response is prompt. The street kitchen workers were also effective in the outreach efforts and worked closely with the rough sleeper team. Prevention funds were available to help ensure there were no blocks to helping people access help.

Members noted the benefits of prevention versus helping in crisis after a legal notice has already been served and requested clarification around the provision for veterans who are in danger of becoming homeless. The response from officers affirmed the desire of the service to enhance prevention and offered clarification regarding the allocated funding for veterans. This funding had been extended to end of March. The current underspend was offered outside the meeting.


Members noted that a timescale of two years seemed protracted in terms of a target timeline for completion of the service review and strategy refresh, and suggested that consideration be given to accomplishing the refresh sooner. The response from officers noted that this would be taken on board in the ongoing discussions around the strategy refresh.




1.    As the next iteration of the strategy is in development, that early intervention activity to prevent homelessness be prioritised to receive feedback from Members, either in a seminar or scrutiny format.


2.    That consideration be given to an earlier strategy revision date. 


3.    That an update be received on the revised strategy at an appropriate time.

Supporting documents: