Homelessness & Rough Sleeping Strategy 2024 - 2029
6. Theme Three: Providing Support
6.1 For many people, homelessness is symptomatic of other issues in their lives, mental or physical health problems, domestic abuse, drug or alcohol dependency, offending behaviour or fractured support networks.
6.2 Moving into temporary accommodation can be extremely disruptive and unsettling for individuals and families, and they are sometimes moved at short notice which presents challenges for adults who may be trying to hold down a job, or children who need to get to school. It is particularly difficult for individuals and families who are placed in hotels, sometimes a long way from amenities and often without basics like access to cooking and laundry facilities.
6.3 The recovery from homelessness requires strong partnership working with other statutory services, voluntary agencies and housing providers.
6.4 A range of support options are needed to help people address the root causes of their homelessness, consolidate their initial recovery from homelessness and to sustain accommodation in the longer term.
6.5 Achieving our vision relies on effective assessment and support from other agencies running through the journey from beginning to end. We need work with partners to develop the toolkit required to help prevent homelessness occurring in the first place, ensure anyone who is homeless is helped to navigate the pathway from crisis to rehousing, and to support the continued prevention of homelessness by ensuring people don't have to endure it again.
6.6 We also need to work with partners and other suppliers of supported housing in the Borough to ensure that the accommodation and support is of good standard, meets the residents' need and meet any statutory requirements.
6.7 We will work with partners to ensure that supported housing models are financially sustainable, are not reliant on funding from the Council and, as far as is feasible, do not adversely affect the Council's finances (for example, through the unsubsidised cost of Housing Benefit).
6.8 We need to work with our partners to ensure our supply of all types of accommodation is delivered with the right levels of support to meet the needs of people who are homeless and that provision is in place to tailor support plans for those with both low to complex needs.
6.9 Implementing a Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Action Board will give us the platform to share information about new and remodelling housing supply to open up discussion and action plans for delivering shared services support.
In relation to Providing Support we will;
- Strengthen data recording in order to deliver effective monitoring of support outcomes and identify gaps in service to feed into effective service commissioning and delivery. Improve the monitoring of commissioned housing-related support services to ensure we are delivering quality and value for money through an outcome-based approach.
- Collaborate with partners and stakeholders to make available a directory of support services for people who are experiencing or recovering from homelessness, including focus on support for victims of domestic abuse, care leavers, families with children with special needs and refugee families needing post trauma and resettlement support.
- Improve the conditions for individuals and families who are being accommodated in temporary accommodation, particularly hotels, by linking with Family Hubs and Health Services to provide compassionate wrap-around support to help people meet their basic needs.
- Improve the identification, assessment, recording and sharing of housing vulnerability, including little understood groups such as individuals who are 'sofa surfing' and leading complex lifestyles.
- Improve the understanding of the overlap between mental health and housing.
- Improve signposting and access to local services that can impact root causes of homelessness.
- Complete the review of supported housing to include assessment of the needs and options for supported housing for vulnerable single people and work with housing providers to identify and implement financially sustainable options to provide good quality accommodation and support.
- Include a review of current short term commissioned rough sleeper services within the review of supported housing to consider how specialist provisions may-be effectively delivered longer term.
- Improve the consistency of health care access for people who are homeless.
- Support the delivery of access to domestic abuse advocacy within the housing service.
- Work with our public health colleagues to review the effectiveness and value for money of the Rough Sleeper Drug and Alcohol Treatment Grant and contribute to future plans and funding bids.
- Build strong partnership working protocols to include training programmes with mental health services to improve two-way referrals based on a shared objective to identify homelessness risk, prevent homelessness and ensure anyone affected by homelessness receives the support needed to recover and resettle.
- Re-commission services where needed to ensure effective use of resources and achieve the best outcomes for everyone affected by or at risk of homelessness and rough sleeping.
- Review the delivery of Rough Sleeper Initiatives to ensure rapid and effective outreach support to keep rough sleeping brief and non-recurrent and ensure that the needs and options for rough sleepers that are not eligible are met.
- Reduce the time families spend in temporary accommodation by reviewing and improving our focus, targets and best practice for move-on work and ensure this aligns with effective support plans with identified support needs and relevant referrals.
- Link the recommendations made in the 'Homelessness and Health Report 2018' to the Strategy vision and development of improved protocols.