Report of the Director of Community and Children’s Services.
Members received a report of the Director of Community and Children’s Services in respect of the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Recovery Plan.
During the discussion and questions, the following points were noted:
· Officers gave an assurance that the recovery plan would include working with the Youth Hostel Association (YHA) and partners in mapping individuals’ requirements, to ensure that accommodation pathways were in place well ahead of 31st March 2021.
· Members felt that this work was a ‘watershed’ in assisting homeless clients and the Assistant Director welcomed the ongoing support of the Sub Committee in driving the strategy. The Chairman felt that it had provided an excellent opportunity to gain as much intelligence as possible, which would enable Officers and Members to examine previous barriers and refusals to accept assistance.
· Action taken during lockdown had resulted in some very long-term rough sleepers accepting offers of accommodation. This had built trust and enabled them to have access to benefits, health checks, drug rehabilitation and other key services. However, it was essential to keep the momentum as there were ups and downs on these pathways.
· Support needs should extend beyond drug, alcohol and mental health rehabilitation and assist those with either a history of unsuccessful tenancies or living independently for the first time. Officers confirmed that work in this area was well-placed following the funding agreed by the Court of Common Council. Discussions were underway with neighbouring authorities to build on learning and to make new measures sustainable.
· In respect of providing facilities to the relatively low number of clients remaining on the street, Members were reminded that this would need careful management from a public health perspective and strict guidance was in place. Members noted that 7-8 outreach worker shifts operated every week and Streetlink was still the first point of contact for rough Sleeping concerns. Consideration would be given to how assessment and support could be offered most effectively in future, and the economic impact of COVID-19 had the potential to increase the number of people who were homeless or rough sleeping.
RESOLVED, that – the report be noted.