Agenda and minutes
Venue: Scaitcliffe House, Ormerod Street, Accrington
Contact: Fiona Goodfellow Housing and Regeneration (01254 380 195)
Welcome and Introductions
2.00pm Fiona Goodfellow, Hyndburn Borough Council
FG opened the meeting by welcoming everyone. Those present introduced themselves and the organisations they represented.
Minutes from 14 February 2019 meeting and matters arising
Workshops for Private Landlords
FG had indicated at our 12th February meeting that 2 workshops for private landlords on Universal Credit which was being facilitated by the DWP and Citizens Advice Bureau was due to take place over the following few months. Apparently one did take place on the 11th April but the evening meeting also arranged did not go ahead as most landlords opted to attend the afternoon meeting with the exception of one landlord who Cathy Ross arranged to meet separately.
Stepping Stone Projects
DC pointed out that the minutes of the last meeting had made reference to Stepping Stones, this should have been Stepping Stone Projects.
2.15pm Jenny Duthie, Hyndburn CAB
FG welcomed Jenny Duthie from the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) who had come along to the meeting to talk about ‘Help to Claim’. This was a service being delivered in Rossendale and Hyndburn working in partnership with the DWP to help people to claim Universal Credit.
The CAB is a network of 280 independent local charities in 2588 locations across England and Wales who last year assisted 2.6 million people. CAB were currently promoting their online services and 25 million people visited their online advice pages in 2018.
The aim of the CAB is mainly to provide face to face advice for people concerning everyday problems. CAB is an impartial service, independent, confidential and free.
JD then gave a presentation which is attached to these Minutes for your information.
Q1 LH asked about verifying people’s identity and how much support CAB could give?
A1 CAB offer as much support as possible but did not use verify because they had found it did not work very well. The Job Centre was supporting people to get hold of birth certificates etc. and also had access to the flexible support fund.
The DWP recognise that some claimants may be more vulnerable and living more chaotic lives consequently they may not have the evidence required. In these cases the DWP can do biographical interviews which look at the claimant’s past and at other benefit claims that they have made. Also if the claimant is known to two Work Coaches who recognise them then that was enough to verify identity.
Q2 If somebody was subject to a habitual residency test would you continue because they had not had the first payment; do you support around that process as well?
A2 CAB would try and support the claimant until the first payment but hopefully CAB would have advisors in their general service who could pick this up and carry on supporting them through it.
An event had been held in Nelson which was delivered by the DWP who may also offer this to Hyndburn by getting key partners around the table to talk through the process of supporting those customers to ensure they have the right evidence.
Round table discussion on initial findings
FG introduced this item by explaining that this was the next stage of the Homelessness Strategy Review process.
At the last meeting FG had given an overview of the requirement to carry out a Homelessness Review and develop a Homelessness Strategy which the Council was required to complete every five years.
A brief discussion had taken place on the Stakeholder Consultation when FG had requested feedback on the following questions:
1. What do you think will be the biggest challenges over the next 5 years for services and agencies working with homeless households in Hyndburn?
2. What improvements / changes would agencies like to see to homelessness service provision in Hyndburn?
3. Have you any further ideas, priorities or actions you would like to put forward to be included in the 2019-2023 Strategy?
FG had also circulated a Stakeholder Questionnaire with the Minutes and had now received around a dozen responses which had been really useful.
FG then gave a presentation which is attached to these Minutes for your information.
The Forum was then asked to sit in 4 groups to discuss the following challenges:
1. What can you / your service offer to help prevent and reduce homelessness in Hyndburn?
2. What can you / your service offer to help prevent and reduce homelessness in Hyndburn?
Actions from the groups are attached at Appendix 1.
A landlord’s Universal Credit workshop had taken place on the 11th April 2019 which was well attended. Two workshops had originally been organised to give landlords the option of afternoon or evening. Most had opted for the afternoon with the exception of one landlord who Cathy Ross arranged to meet separately.
A Hyndburn Universal Credit Working Group has been meeting regularly the next one has been arranged for Wednesday 10th July 2019 followed by Wed 30th October at 11am.. The DWP had requested a landlord representative to attend this discussion but so far no one had come forward. If any members are interested in being part of this group please contact Fiona Goodfellow.
The Job Centre’s front of house team were always available to assist people with Universal Credit should anyone wish to drop in at any time.
Universal Credit managed migration is currently being piloted in Harrogate. CAB
CAB had secured funding for the ‘Henry Smith Charity’ to provide housing support to vulnerable people who may be at risk of homelessness within Rossendale and Hyndburn for a period of 2 years until May 2021. This would involve working with partners to provide practical advice and support which included budgeting, benefits, finding accommodation, helping to maintain a tenancy etc.
If anyone was unable to visit CAB offices, arrangements could be made for CAB staff to visit residents in their own home or somewhere convenient in the community.
The Rapid Rehousing Pathway had just been set up with funding from MHCLG which started on the 1st July 2019 for a period of 12 months. The aim of this was to employ ‘navigators’ to engage more proactively with rough sleepers to help them secure permanent accommodation. Maundy Relief are delivering this across Hyndburn.
MB had heard of an incident whereby a family, father, brother etc. were all drug addicts and the person being referred was being discharged from prison with no support at all. Is there not a service that can communicate and relate to the prison service to prevent the individual going back into prison?
NB from Emerging Futures/Inspire explained that if a client was being released from prison and there were issues regarding substance misuse the prison service would always inform Emerging Futures/Inspire of the individual before their release. The individual would then be provided with an appointment for their release. Emerging Futures/Inspire will work with Shelter to find suitable accommodation. Shelter work within the prison service and DAP explained that the new Homelessness Reduction Act requires any organisation who was aware of someone at risk of homeless, to refer them under the ‘Duty to Refer’ to the Local Authority where they were going to be homeless from.
DAP stated that housing advice usually receive around 1 or 2 Duty to Refer cases per week from the prison service. Over the past month they had received around 7 referrals but not one individual had presented themselves as homeless to the housing advice ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Date and time of next meeting
Thursday 7th November 2019 commencing at 2.00 pm
Scaitcliffe House, Ormerod Street, Accrington