Issue - meetings

Housing and Homelessness

Meeting: 03/02/2020 - Communities Scrutiny Committee (Item 2)

2 Scrutiny Review of Housing and Homelessness pdf icon PDF 790 KB

Angie Astley (Executive Director for Housing, Communities and Customer Services), Fliss Mercer (Director for Policy, Customer and Commercial Services) and Katherine Kynaston (Programme Executive Lead) will be in attendance for this item.


The Cabinet Member: Housing, Transport and Infrastructure welcomed this opportunity to explore the issues set out in the report and develop policy in conjunction with Scrutiny.  Some positive work was taking place in this area: the new Housing Strategy would be presented to Cabinet and Council in the next few months and there were options set out to develop policies collaboratively.


The Housing, Nuplace & Commercial Projects Service Delivery Manager provided an overview of the current service and offer provided in relation to young people and housing, as detailed in the report.  


How does the Council become aware that an individual is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless?


The Service became aware that an individual would be likely to become homeless when either there was a direct approach from the individual or if another organisation/body passed the information. 


Certain public bodies had a duty to refer users of their service who they had reason to believe were homeless or threatened with becoming homeless within 56 days, to the local authority.  If the individual was over 18, permission was needed to make the referral but not if they were under 18.


What data was available on the success of prevention and relief?


It was agreed that data on the prevention and relief duty would be provided in writing.


It was noted that different choices and opportunities were presented to young people and that this might mean some young people did not come into contact with the Council.


It was important that the Council made it easy for young people to interact with the Council at whatever stage in their housing journey they were at and also as they moved in and out of need.


When a family including young people was made homeless, was the young person considered a family member or a young person?


This depended on the outcome of interview with the family about what they wanted, ie to stay together as family unit or if the young person wanted to move on.


How were messages being conveyed through appropriate media in a userfriendly format (eg targeting advertisements through snapchat etc)? 


The Council’s Corporate Communications Team were leading on raising the profile of thethe work that was being done.  It could be that there were information routes not yet being accessed that could form part of the future communications plan.


Whilst digital methods of communication were import, it was important to have alternative approaches, eg through libraries.


Best practice in this area might be something the Committee would like to focus on.


Was there a pathway for released prisoners?


There was a specific process for those leaving prison; the Council worked closely with a number of partners to provide supported accommodation for prisoners to be discharged to.


What schemes were on offer for people with poor financial records who could not meet housing association deposit/tenancy requirements (eg, the Xroads scheme)?


The Welfare Team worked closely with the Crisis Support Team to provide support that made  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2