Report from the Strategic Director for Adult Care, Housing and Public Health.
1. That Cabinet approve the Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy 2023 - 2026.
Consideration was given to the report which introduced the proposed Homelessness Prevention and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2023-2026, which explained how the Council and its partners would address the challenges of homelessness and rough sleeping, by focussing on six key priorities:
3. Increase access to affordable housing options.
4. Improve access to housing support, employment and health services.
6. End rough sleeping in Rotherham.
It was clarified this was the Councils second strategy with the first being published in 2019. The six priorities built upon the success of the last three years. It was highlighted that over the last three years the Council had reduced the number of rough sleepers counted from 16 in 2019 to zero. Other successes were the number of units available for homelessness accommodation had increased. Supported housing had increased including use for victims of domestic abuse. A new model for supporting young homeless people aged 16-25 had been co-designed.
The pathways in the service for vulnerable people had been improved including those for people leaving prison and hospital. The main aim of the strategy had been around prevention but also included recovery measures where needed. Partnership working was key, and the strategy was around strengthening those partnerships. Another key aspect was around reducing expensive temporary accommodation, including hotel use.
The level of engagement sought during the consultation process was highlighted. The ‘Everyone In’ programme during the pandemic showed what could be achieved when the Government assisted with funding. A key aim was that homelessness was something that people did not have to face in Rotherham, including working with those at risk of losing their properties to ensure suitable temporary accommodation was available.
It was noted that the pressure on homelessness services was growing long before that particular Government initiative. The rough sleeper count was good news, but it was a snapshot, but the Council was aware that there were people who spent nights on the streets in Rotherham and the Council would continue to work with them.
The partnership working element of the strategy was highlighted. The complexity of needs was growing in the borough and the partnership working with agencies and the voluntary sector was vital.
Housing first was an amazing project and the work being done with the boroughs young people was welcomed.
Resolved: That Cabinet approved the Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy 2023 - 2026.