Agenda and minutes
Venue: Scaitcliffe House, Ormerod Street, Accrington
Contact: Fiona Goodfellow Housing and Regeneration (01254 380 195)
Welcome and Introductions
2.00 pm Fiona Goodfellow
FG opened the meeting by welcoming everyone. Those present introduced themselves and the organisations they represented.
Minutes from October 2018 Meeting and Matters Arising
2.05 pm All
Rough Sleeping Estimate
FG informed the Forum that since our last meeting, the Rough Sleeping Estimate had taken place on the night of Wednesday 14th November 2018 into the morning of Thursday 15th November.
7 people had been found to be sleeping rough in Hyndburn which was the highest number we had ever recorded on our annual return. A comparison of figures for previous years was as follows:-
2017 – 6
2016 – 2
2015 – 4
A significant amount of multi-agency input had gone into collating the above, figures had primarily come from returns from Maundy, Hyndburn Helpers, Crossroads, Onward Homes and the DWP. FG informed the meeting that this was a robust estimate as FG had done much clarification and felt it was an accurate representation of rough sleeping for the night in question. It was evident therefore that Hyndburn had an increasing problem of rough sleeping in the Borough.
To give an idea of numbers for other local authorities these were as follows:-
For a comparator Greater Manchester had recorded 123.
Nationally, statistics suggest that people sleeping rough have increased in the bigger cities for example London, by 13% but overall across the rest of England it had actually decreased by 6%.
Most agencies will already be aware that there is an increasing focus by Central Government on rough sleeping.
2.15 pm Nighat Parveen
FG then introduced Nighat Parveen and Alison Lorente from Lancashire County Council’s (LCC) Children and Family Wellbeing Service. FG had met with Nighat and Alison a few weeks ago and felt it would be beneficial for them to attend the Forum to give an overview of the service as there had been numerous changes over the past 12 months.
Nighat explained that she was the Locality Manager covering Hyndburn, Rossendale and Ribble Valley. There were 5 Locality Managers across Lancashire and the service was available across the 12 districts.
Alison explained that she was the Team Leader for Hyndburn managing senior practitioners who in turn directly managed staff.
The service was delivered through a number of neighbourhood centres in each of the townships, Accrington, Great Harwood, Clayton-le-Moors and Rishton.
There had been lots of changes within the service and they were regularly being asked where the Children’s Centres and Young People’s Services had gone which have now been merged and integrated into the new service.
The new Children and Family Wellbeing Service now incorporates the following:
· Children’s Centres including Sure Start (providing support to children 0 – 5 yrs)
· Young People’s Service (providing support to 12 – 19 yr olds)
· Early Support Co-ordinators for Children and Families
· Troubled Families Unit Programme
· Early Action / Integrated Team
· Public Health Nursing / Health Child Framework (e.g. Health Visitors, School Nurses)
Nighat and Alison then gave a presentation which is attached to these minutes for your information. A quick overview sheet giving details of the service on offer is also attached including contact details for anyone requiring further information.
Q Do you evaluate your work at the end of the year?
A It is ongoing.
Q Do you see patterns in behaviour?
A The same families came round time and time again. There were some very high resource intensive families and not just for LCC, which was why they had an integrated team so that those cases could be looked at closely to determine the best way to progress with them. It was sometimes necessary to ask - what can we do with these families and this had to be a joint conversation.
The service was about families being ready to change. You can put in place all the support interventions you can, but if the family are not ready to take them fully on board and make the changes necessary to sustain them then you are not going to make a difference.
Q Does anyone actually tell the family that?
A Yes, if there is no progress being made then it is necessary to have those really difficult conversations. Resources are not limitless, LCC estimate to work on standard cases around 15 weeks and complex cases approximately 20 weeks. LCC will not work with families that they have worked with 3 or 4 times previously who come back with exactly the same issues because they have no commitment.
Q The Lancashire County Councillors are at the moment setting ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
2.45 pm Denis Aldridge-Priestley
FG stated that the Homelessness Reduction Act which was introduced on the 1st April 2018 had now been in place for nearly 12 months. It had taken some considerable time to understand how the legislation was working and the Council had now completed two quarters of statistical information which had been submitted to Central Government.
DA had spent some time analysing the data to understand the impact of these changes here at Hyndburn and findings were as follows:-
From the 1st April 2018 to 31st December 2018, 700 applicants had completed the online portal, of this figure, 131 homeless prevention cases had been opened and 34 relief cases.
The reporting system did not acknowledge the Housing Advice cases it only acknowledged either a prevention or relief duty. This was something that we would be taking up with our software provider. The system currently did not show the prevention cases where the Council had not taken on a duty.
DA then gave a presentation which is attached to these minutes for your information.
Q Do you think these figures have increased since the Reduction Act came into force?
A Since the 1st January 2019, 10 households had gone into temporary accommodation which was a significant increase.
Q Where is the temporary accommodation located if not within the borough?
A In neighbouring boroughs, primarily Burnley and Blackburn.
Homeless Strategy Review
3.00 pm Fiona Goodfellow
FG explained that Local Authorities had a duty under the Homelessness Act 2002 to produce a Homelessness Strategy which should be updated every 5 years. Our current Strategy will expire this year - 2019. Priorities in the existing Strategy were reflected in an Action Plan which was developed through the Forum in 2014 and updated in 2016.
FG outlined achievements / successes that had happened over the past 5 years – these include:-
· A workable joint protocol with Lancashire County Council and all the 12 districts in Lancashire to assess homelessness for 16 and 17 year olds
· The Homelessness Reduction Act was implemented in 2018
· All weather provision – we have worked closely with Maundy and Crossroads to provide all weather provision for people at risk of sleeping rough
· Increase in rough sleeping and all the consequences that come with this
· First Call Hyndburn – premises in the Arndale Centre which is available to assist people with all sorts of housing, benefit related issues as part of the Onward Homes Housing Group
· Engagement with the private rented sector – as there is less and less social rented stock available we have had to look to the private rented sector to meet our homelessness duties
· Introduction of Universal Credit – which has been significant since its introduction
· Housing for single people over 25 – supported accommodation for young people is really only up to the age of 21 which poses challenges in meeting the duty for over 21’s, over 25’s, over 35’s. The Key Scheme helps with this
· Hyndburn Homes became Onward Homes within the Onward Homes Group which has meant a lot of changes in staff
· The Council is in the process of reviewing the B-with-Us Allocations Policy and hope to have a draft Allocations Policy ready for consultation in early summer
· Changes to supported accommodation particularly in relation to accommodation that has been funded through the Supporting People framework.
· Joint working with partners to meet our priorities
· Resettling of 10 Syrian Refugee families who arrived in Hyndburn July 2018
· Ongoing provision of Asylum Seeker accommodation in partnership with Serco
The Act placed a duty on local authorities to review and analyse homelessness and our responses to homelessness and then produce a Strategy with an Action Plan as to how we are going to meet any gaps in services or provision. There was also a Code of Guidance on how to produce the Strategy.
Local authorities are still encouraged by Central Government to meet the 10 local authority challenges to achieve gold standard which include:
· Having a corporate commitment to prevent homelessness
· Working in partnership
· Adopting a no second night out model in relation to rough sleeping
· Having a suitable private rented sector offer
· No young people in bed and breakfast
· No families in bed and breakfast for longer than 6 weeks
· Joint approach to preventing homelessness
Hopefully by the end of 2019 the new Strategy will have been adopted which will remain in place for a period of 5 ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
3.15 pm All
Maundy were still experiencing ongoing problems with Universal Credit and trying to find affordable single person accommodation a need which was increasing all the time. There was also an increase in agents/landlords requesting rent in advance.
FG pointed out that she would be organising 2 workshops for private landlords on Universal Credit which would be facilitated by the DWP and Citizens Advice Bureau over the next few months. This would help landlords to gain a better understanding of Universal Credit.
The M3 Project were currently waiting for the LCC commissioning process for young persons supported accommodation to proceed. The latest position was that they may be going out to competitive tendering in May 2019 with a view to new services starting between July and December 2019.
M3 also deliver a listening project which provides young people who have been through homeless services to work with other young people at risk of homelessness via a medication process. This was in addition to the trailblazer. M3 were currently working in Rochdale and also East Lancashire with young people at risk of dropping out of their families.
Stepping Stones had been involved in the ‘Charm’ event recently which involved pupils from high schools in Hyndburn being awarded at a ceremony at Oswaldtwistle Civic Theatre. 5 companies sponsored awards to give to young people. This had proved very successful and had provided an opportunity to celebrate young people. Following the event donations had been offered for next year. Organisers of the event were YNOT Aspire and Young Carers and a lot of money had been raised for both charities.
There will be numerous follow-on events.
The Crossroads contract was up for tender again (as per M3 above). They had also a couple of vacancies at the moment. Crossroads also had their own Facebook page.
The Land Aid project had been working well but properties coming on board had been slow. They currently had 3 properties at the moment which were occupied by young people. The plan was to have 6 or 7 two bedroomed houses. The existing properties help with good move on accommodation. Nightsafe are working in partnership with Methodist Action.
Land Aid is a project where businesses put money in and organisations apply for the money to be able to run schemes.
Onward were currently working to re-establish their relationship with the Council. A lot of organisational change had taken place over the past 12 months which would continue for the foreseeable future as they continue to make services more efficient. Their focus is currently on tenancy sustainment.
Dates of Meetings for 2019
Tuesday 9th July 2019 at 2pm
Thursday 7th November 2019 at 2pm
All meeting to be held at Scaitcliffe House, Accrington