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 21 June 2018 Meeting and Matters Arising
Syrian Refugee Resettlement Programme
Since our last meeting 10 families had arrived in the Borough during July. All families had been rehoused with Onward Homes and were settling in well. This had not been without its challenges, children were now attending school having started at the beginning of the new school year in September. Adults were also accessing English Language classes three days a week.
Calico Enterprise is providing support to the families on a daily basis this includes:
· Helping them familiarise with the area and settle into the community;
· Registering with GPs/Dentists;
· Accompanying them to the DWP; and
· General day to day support.
This has been complemented by support from voluntary sector partners. Quite a lot of partners in Hyndburn had come together to provide: coffee mornings, walks, craft groups, access to gardening opportunities and a whole range of other activities. On behalf of the agencies who had been working with the families FG thanked everyone for their input.
Younger adults were attending College in Burnley and as part of this they were receiving English tuition along with their vocational course.
2.15pm Fiona Goodfellow
Hyndburn Borough Council
FG explained that every year local authorities are required to carry out a rough sleeper estimate on behalf of Central Government who then collate the findings and in turn publish them.
FG felt it would be helpful to explain what this involved and what agencies needed to do if they came across any rough sleepers.
FG explained that the Government had recently launched a National Rough Sleeping Strategy. The background to this was primarily because of the significant increase in rough sleeping across the country which unfortunately had also been mirrored in Hyndburn over recent years.
The Government is committed to halving rough sleeping by 2022 and ending it by 2027. This would be quite a challenge and the Government were therefore putting a significant amount of funding into this to assist. The Government’s vision is that by 2027 they will support every person who sleeps rough to enable them to get off the streets and into a home which will be backed by £100 million of funding over the next 2 years. A significant amount of funding would be directed automatically to those councils having high rough sleeper numbers. Hyndburn did not fall into this category.
Post Meeting Note – Hyndburn BC was informed by MHCLG of the opportunity to get some additional funding via the Rough Sleeping Cold Weather Fund to provide swift, bespoke interventions to rough sleepers during the coming winter period – up to March 2019. Hyndburn is eligible to apply for up to £10,000. The LA will work with partners to access this fund.
At the last rough sleeper estimate they were 4,751 people nationally sleeping rough on a typical night which was an increase of 15% on the previous year. Hyndburn estimated 6 people sleeping rough in 2017 up from 2 in 2016 and 4 in 2015.
The definition of rough sleeping is:-
“People sleeping, or bedded down, in the open air (such as on the streets, or in doorways, parks or bus shelters); people in buildings or other places not designed for habitation (such as barns, sheds, car parks, cars, derelict boats, stations, or 'bashes')".
FG then gave a presentation and a copy is attached to these minutes for your information.
The rough sleeper estimate this year will take place on the night of Wednesday 14th November into the morning of Thursday 15th November. This night is the same for all Lancashire authorities to avoid double counting across boundaries.
FG explained that we needed multi-agency involvement to gather intelligence. The information we are required to collect for Central Government is:
· Initials of individuals
· Date of birth
· Nationality (British, EU or non EU)
· Where they have been sleeping rough
· Evidence that an individual has been sleeping rough on that night
FG then distributed a rough sleeper form for agencies to complete if they were aware that an individual was sleeping rough. This should be submitted to FG for inclusion within the Hyndburn submission.
FG informed agencies that a meeting would ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
Homelessness Reduction Act Update - Right to Refer
2.30pm Denis Aldridge-Priestley
Hyndburn Borough Council
The Council had now been working with the new legislation which came into effect on the 1st April 2018 for six months. Staff had found this quite challenging as they have had to learn to work in a completely different way. The IT system purchased had also not been functioning properly which had been hampering progress.
Since April, over 400 people have completed the online form on the Council’s new portal to request a homelessness assessment. About a third of these applicants have been taken on as potential homeless cases. A lot of people completing the portal have also been signposted to other parts of the Council for e.g. disrepair or Onward Homes for the housing register.
Each officer is carrying a caseload of around 15 – 20 cases at any one time.
From the 1st October 2018 the new Act brought in what is called ‘The Duty to Refer’ which is for specific public authorities to refer service users to the Council who may have homeless issues or be at risk of homelessness. The public authorities are quite specific and include:
Youth Offending Teams
A & E Departments
Urgent Treatment Centres
If any of the above authorities believes someone is at risk of homelessness they have a duty to refer to the local authority for an assessment. There are two ways of referring to the Council, via the portal or via the Council’s email address at firstname.lastname@example.org. This will be picked up by the Housing Advice Team who will contact the individual for arrange an appointment.
Referrals received by the Council since the 1st October 2018 have been from the DWP (7 or 8) and also the Probation Service (people coming out of Prison).
The service user’s consent must be obtained before referring in to the Council. The Council is unable to assist if this is not obtained. The Council will then work with the individual to find a solution.
FG then showed a video which explained the Right to Refer process.
2.45pm Carly Whitehead
FG then introduced Carly Whitehead, Team Leader, Shelter Lancashire who had come along to explain the work of Shelter.
CW explained that their office was based in Blackburn Library. Shelter is a national homeless and housing charity with offices all over the country as well as the free housing advice helpline.
The Blackburn hub offers advice around any housing debt or welfare benefits issue. Housing is Shelter’s main priority but they are also contracted to provide debt and benefits advice on behalf of Blackburn with Darwen Council (BwD). Housing advice is Lancashire wide which encompasses homeless presentations, disrepair, deposits, unlawful evictions, repossession proceedings etc. This may be advice over the telephone if out of Lancashire or at their hub in Blackburn. Shelter also offer legal advice under their legal aid contract and have 2 legal advisors and 2 solicitors.
Shelter operate a court duty desk which is predominantly based in Burnley but this has recently expanded to Preston and are also involved at Blackpool and Lancaster which is shared with Lancaster CAB.
Housing advice is available on an emergency rota 24/7.
In BwD Shelter also provide personal budgeting support under Universal Credit in partnership with the Council and are based in Blackburn Job Centre full time. Anyone making an application for Universal Credit will be offered some support around their personal budget.
Shelter can be contacted by telephone 0344 515 1831 or email email@example.com.
FG explained that at the beginning of 2019 the Council would be renewing our Homelessness Strategy. The Government requires local authorities and partners to produce a Strategy every 5 years. Our current Strategy expires in 2019.
This will mean consulting on a new strategy which will include looking into the current situation of homelessness within the Hyndburn area. What is available, what is working, what isn’t working, what gaps there are, and developing an action plan as to what the priorities might be for the next 5 years going forward. This will involve everyone in Hyndburn who works with the homeless which will be led through the Forum.
Citizens Advice Bureau
Hyndburn CAB is providing a personal budgeting service in the Job Centre, First Call and at New Era.
Children’s Social Care
Referred to difficulties experienced with homeless young people. Children’s Social Care and the local authorities in Lancashire have a homeless joint protocol in place which has been quite well publicised regarding the process to refer. This has been quite challenging but Children’s Social Care has a very good working relationship with the Housing Advice Team, it is always good to put faces to names and networking.
Great Places are just coming out of a business transformation. They have recently restructured the housing team. Great Places are now Lancashire wide and have moved into a new way of working. Offices are more agile now so staff are out and about on the schemes and in neighbourhoods. They are working with residents in a different way in that Great Places are ‘working with residents’ not for residents. Trying to empower residents to do more for themselves.
Bedspaces at projects currently full. They have the same projects and are not looking to expand for the foreseeable future.
Cllr Glen Harrison
Working quite closely with the Veterans Association UK who specifically rehouse veterans and provide mental health support. This is a small charity who are based in the Market Hall.
Just highlight that Community Rehabilitation is part of the Probation Service which are private sector. Have experienced major issues with IT recently and currently have no direct telephone lines. If anyone has been trying to contact staff please use mobiles.
Stepping Stone Projects
Stepping Stone Projects are receiving referrals from individuals with Kurdish backgrounds which has been challenging due to language difficulties. If any agencies know of anyone who could help with translation please let Stepping Stone Projects know.
Struggling with young people to progress their Universal Credit claims because the system requires bank account details and a lot of young people do not have bank accounts.
Lancashire County Council will be recommissioning services shortly which means that Crossroads and Stepping Stones and other Lancashire wide services for young people will be out for tender.
Crossroads on behalf of the Salvation Army are piloting a qualification called ‘Life’ which is through the London Institute of Banking. All young people will be doing this ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Dates of Meetings for 2019
Thursday 14th February 2019 at 2pm
Tuesday 9th July 2019 at 2pm
Wednesday 6th November 2019 at 2pm
All meetings will be held at Scaitcliffe House, Accrington
Thursday 14th February 2019 commencing at 2pm
Tuesday 9th July 2019 commencing at 2pm
Wednesday 6th November 2018 commencing at 2pm
All meetings will be held at Scaitcliffe House, Accrington