Agenda and minutes
Venue: Scaitcliffe House, Ormerod Street, Accrington
Contact: Fiona Goodfellow Housing and Regeneration (01254 380 195)
Welcome and Introduction
2:00pm Fiona Goodfellow
Hyndburn Borough Council
FG opened the meeting by welcoming everyone. Those present introduced themselves and the organisations they represented.
Minutes of the 13th February 2018 meeting and matters arising
FG explained that the aim of this project was to focus on support for young single homeless people and at the last meeting Shannon Gregory was the Support Worker at YNOT Aspire for the Hyndburn element of the project. Shannon has now left and been replaced by Jade Hargreaves who was present at the meeting.
FG stated that numerous discussions had taken place regarding the introduction of Universal Credit and the impact this has had, in particular, on homeless people.
FG asked if the situation was improving as she was preparing a report for Cabinet. The last report had included a lot of evidence from Maundy Relief and FG asked if there was any further evidence updates available which could be included.
IC responded that young people at Crossroads were finding it difficult to obtain a bank account because of lack of proof of ID. Many young people did not have a birth certificate due to parental relationship breakdown. The online UC form would not allow a young person to progress a claim if they did not have a bank account.
JH explained that monthly payments had also been a problem but it was possible to request these fortnightly. Young people were receiving monthly payments and the money was going within the first few days and then they were struggling for the rest of the month.
LH explained that problems had been encountered where individuals did not have a mobile phone as forms could not be progressed without a mobile number. Some people were also unable to access the internet because they did not have an email account. Delays had been experienced with payments and people were being disadvantaged because of requiring assistance over disability issues.
FG stated that she would take these concerns back to the Cathy Ross at the DWP.
The new legislation came into effect on the 3rd April 2018 and FG felt it might be useful to discuss the Council’s experience with this introduction and how this was going in Hyndburn.
DA explained that the main way to access the housing advice team was now through the customer portal where online forms could be completed. Forms were then received in housing advice and the case allocated to an officer.
Since the beginning of April, 198 people had accessed the customer portal but many individuals completing the online form had not actually been homeless. Various other reasons had been given for contacting housing advice including wanting to join the housing register, problems with mice in the garden etc. etc. The online form was being completed for the wrong reasons when individuals were not necessarily homeless. Housing Advice currently had 53 active ongoing cases.
Problems had been experienced in trying to contact people either by email or telephone to arrange appointments; a lot of people had not responded. A high number of people claiming to be homeless had not turned up for appointments. A couple of these had been in touch again at a later stage when the situation had reached crisis point, if they had come in earlier, housing advice would have been able to assist with prevention measures.
The prevention focus of 56 days where housing advice are required to work with individuals to prevent their homelessness had been quite successful.
The biggest increase housing advice had seen was potential for illegal eviction and had been working more closely with the housing standards team which again had been very successful. More home visits had also been undertaken in respect of parental evictions. Visiting an individual in their own home means you can actually assess the situation better than just talking in the office.
Relief Duty – this is when homelessness cannot be prevented and a decision has to be taken on how an individual’s homelessness can be relieved. Relief Duty is a further 56 days before housing advice can make a statutory homeless decision on an individual’s application.
Housing Advice had seen a big increase in providing Bonds through the Rent Deposit Scheme. They had also paid individual’s rent arrears off through the Repossessions Fund to assist in preventing homelessness, Far more proactive work was being undertaken and temporary accommodation placements had gone up with more than half the B&B budget already spent.
Personal Housing Plans – these are measures that the applicant and the Council have to come to an agreement on which places an obligation on the applicant to work with the Council to prevent and/or relieve their homelessness. Problems had been experienced where applicants had agreed to completing certain tasks initially, but then do not sign them off as they are not prepared to help themselves. Potentially the Council can then decide to discharge a duty if an applicant fails to do their part. This has not happened yet, but the Council is ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
2:45pm Kerry Steward
FG then introduced Debbie Turner, Natasha Berry, Nichola Major and Kellian Kelbie from Inspire and Emerging Futures who had all come along to do a presentation about St James House and Inspire.
Nichola Major then delivered the first presentation about the Inspire model which has now changed to a community model. The presentation is attached to these minutes for your information.
Kelly Kelbie from Emerging Futures explained that Emerging Futures had three community supported recovery housing projects in East Lancashire offering accommodation for people wanting to go into recovery. These were as follows:
· Barden Lane, Burnley
· Spencer Street, Accrington
· St James House, Accrington
· Emma Street, Accrington (sale currently going through)
Emerging Futures/Inspire also provide housing clinics across East Lancashire.
Kelly, Natasha and Debbie then gave a presentation about the services offered by Emerging Futures which is attached to these minutes for your information.
Syrian Resettlement Programme
3:15pm Fiona Goodfellow
Hyndburn Borough Council
FG explained that Hyndburn were taking 10 households under the Syrian Resettlement Programme for Lancashire who would be arriving in the UK in the middle of July. This was the third year of a five year programme which Lancashire is running as part of the nationwide commitment to resettle households displaced through problems in Syria.
FG had been working closely with many partners in Hyndburn over the last six months to prepare for their arrival.
Onward Homes were providing 10 x 3/4 bedroom properties for the families as many were quite large households. On average this included mother, father and 3 or 4 children ranging in age from 1 to late teens.
As part of the programme families would be provided with intensive casework support. This would be hand-holding support helping them settle into their new home, providing them with support to register with a GP, Dentists, make claims for Universal Credit, help the children get into schools, familiarise them with the area, introduce them to the culture of Britain etc. The Council has entered into a partnership with Calico to provide this support.
Calico already have experience of this as they have already worked with refugee families in Burnley and Pendle over the last couple of years.
FG had also been working with a very enthusiastic voluntary sector partnership which Lucy Hardwick had been involved with called the Pennine Service Delivery Partnership. The partnership was made up of 7 x local partners including Maundy Relief, Women’s Centre, Homewise, HARV, Community Solutions North West, Citizens Advice Bureau and Adventure Hyndburn who are based at the Park Child and Family Centre.
FG had been working really closely with the service who would be delivering voluntary sector support to enhance the support Calico would provide through their case work support. Some of the things they would be helping to provide are as follows:
· Cultural, social, educational recreational initiatives e.g. English conversation classes
· Cooking Classes
· Family Activities during the holiday period
· Helping families to orientate around the area
· Gardening groups / Art classes
· Social Activities to bring people together
FG and Calico had also been working with Lancashire County Council to arrange school places for all the children. The children would be arriving in the middle of July and need to be signed up and allocated school places for the start of the new term at the beginning of September. We anticipate there could be between 30 – 40 children.
Nine out of the ten families would be arriving on Tuesday 17th July via a charter flight arriving at Liverpool Airport at 2.00am. FG and several other people would be travelling to Liverpool with two coaches to collect them and bring them back to Hyndburn. The families would then be taken to their respective homes early Tuesday morning following a small reception at the Park Child and Family Centre where breakfast would be provided. The other family would be arriving on Tuesday 24th July at Manchester Airport.
A formal welcome ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Emmaus currently have vacancies and are looking for referrals. 3 rooms are available. The age range is 25+ but Emmaus will consider this on a case by case basis. If any organisation would like to look around Emmaus and get a better understanding of the service they would be very welcome.
Creative Support have 1 x void property situated on Sandy Lane which is within the mental health project. This is shared accommodation and the individual would be sharing with 2 other men. Most of their referrals are through the Mental Health Team which is funded through LCC. Age range is 18 – 65 years.
Explained that she was a retired district nurse and had joined Church and Oswaldtwistle Rotary. She had been given the role of community and had seen details of the Forum in the paper so thought she would come along.
My Space Housing Solutions
My Space Housing Solutions had just taken on a development on Wellington Street, Accrington which currently had 4 voids. All properties are fully furnished including white goods. If a homeless or vulnerable person was referred to the service these items would be provided for them. People with complex mental health issues from 18 years upwards will be considered for this accommodation. Weekly support will be provided by a housing officer. My Space Housing Solutions also have dispersed properties in the community and work with private landlords.
Accrington and Rossendale College
Taking applications for 16 – 18 year olds. The Waterside will run over the summer and may have limited courses. Adults can be referred in now. The main enrolment days for 16 – 18 year olds will be 24th and 25th August.
Cllr Judith Addison
An article from the Lancashire Telegraph 4 days ago stated that a mental health facility is being built in Oswaldtwistle where the old James Street Club used to be. This is a brand new building which is linked to Pathways North West providing care for women with mental health issues. This will feature 2 x 10 bed fully on-suite facilities to provide quality care to women aged 16 and over with a primary diagnoses of personality disorder.
Full to capacity at the moment and for the first time a resident aged 21 who was not meeting the LCC criteria has had to be served with 7 days’ notice to leave. This is the reality of the new way in which Crossroads has had to work due to funding cuts at LCC and their response to it.
Crossroads can accommodate 11 young people and originally the age range was 16 – 25 years. This has now change to 16 – 21 years with an emphasis on accommodating young people aged 16/17. If a young person is homeless aged 16/17 years they become a top priority and if the project is full someone else at the older end has to be asked to leave.
There is a new Gateway ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Date of next meeting
The next meeting of the Forum will take place on Wednesday 31st October 2018 commencing at 2.00pm in the QE Room, Scaitcliffe House, Ormerod Street, Accrington