To consider report SHAP/76 of the Head of Strategic Housing, which was referred to the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission on 25 November 2019.
The Cabinet Member for Housing presented report SHAP/76of the Head of Strategic Housing which set out the proposed draft Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2019 - 2024, which would be replacing the current Homelessness Strategy 2014 – 2019, which was set to expire at the end of the year. Members were informed that the Cross-Government Rough Sleeping Strategy published August 2018 required all local authorities to have an updated Homelessness Strategy, incorporating how they intend to tackle rough sleeping by 31 December 2019, and it was confirmed that the proposed Strategy covered this requirement.
Councillor Rana presented the Overview and Scrutiny Commission’s comments on the report to the Cabinet following consideration of the matter at its meeting on 25 November 2019. The Cabinet noted the Commission support for the report.
Councillor Lamb also spoke on the proposed Strategy as part of the Cabinet consideration.
1) That Full Council be recommended to app rove the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2019 – 2024 (Appendix A to report SHAP/76) for adoption and subsequent publication.
2) The Cabinet delegate’s authority to the Head of Strategic Housing, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Housing, to make minor amendments to the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy and Action Plan as further changes to legislation and statutory guidance are introduced and following an annual review of the Action Plan. (Generic Delegation 7 will be used to enact this recommendation). Subject, it being adopted by the Full Council
Reasons for the Recommendations
To fulfil the Council’s legal duty to publish a Homelessness Strategy on expiry of the previous Homelessness Strategy, designed to demonstrate how the authority intends to prevent and address homelessness in the future.
To consider SHAP/76 of the Head of Strategic Housing.
The Commission considered report SHAP/76 of the Head of Strategic Housing. The report sought approval for the updated Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2019 – 2024.
Throughout the discussion with the Cabinet Member for Housing, Housing Options Manager and the Housing Performance, Policy and Project Officer, Councillors made the following comments:
· Acknowledgement that there has been an impact on homelessness as a consequence of the lack of increase in local housing allowance and the growing gap between this and the cost of private tenancies.
· Recognition that Crawley has a buoyant housing market and the availability of property changes weekly.
· Confirmation that the action plan and strategy would be kept under constant review.
· Acknowledgement that the Private Sector Housing team regularly worked with the National Landlord Association to facilitate forums.
· Explanation sought and obtained on the exceptions within the strategy. The report and legislation documented the areas covered within the strategy.
· Confirmation that the proximity to Gatwick airport resulted in minimal impact in the rise of homeless numbers and work continued with Gatwick partners.
· Explanation of the costs associated with nightly paid temporary accommodation and that in some instances these were due to specific circumstances (out of hours or safety reasons).
· Acknowledgement that unfortunately there was currently a cohort of individuals within the town who were refusing to engage in current services. There was a multi-agency approach involving looking at commissioning substance misuse outreach teams, triage services with mental health assistance, carrying out risk assessment and where appropriate taking enforcement action as a last resort to motivate and encourage.
That the Commission agreed to support the recommendations.