The Board received a report informing of the recent developments within the homelessness service, and to advise of recent legislative changes that would affect future homelessness and the demand for the service.
It was reported that the Housing Solutions Team had been proactively working with all client groups to reduce and prevent homelessness. The recent staffing issues were explained and it was noted that the Team would be back to full capacity by mid-November 2017.
Members were advised that the aim of the Housing Solutions Team was to assist and prevent people from becoming homeless in Halton. They also provided a community focussed and accessible service to ensure people knew where and how help could be sought if they were threatened with homelessness.
Members were referred to the table in paragraph 3.1.1 of the report which presented some key statistics taken from the statutory data report.
The report also included commentary on the following subjects:
· The Youth Officer;
· Homelessness database;
· Homelessness trends;
· Health and homelessness;
· Gypsy travellers;
· Syrian Refugee Programme;
· Supported Housing Accommodation;
· Local Policy Reviews (Gypsy Travellers; Youth Strategy; and the Homelessness Strategy; and
· Legislation (The Localism Act 2011 and the Homelessness Reduction Bill);
Following Members debate, the following responses to queries were made:
· Funding for the Syrian refugees was provided by the Home Office and support for refugees was provided by Refugee Action;
· The Board would receive further updates once the Homelessness Reduction Bill was introduced, which would be April 2018; however in the meantime further legislative guidance was expected in mid / late 2017, which would be provided to Members via updates;
· Councillor Ron Hignett, in attendance as the Portfolio Holder for Homelessness, wished to covey his thanks to the Housing Solutions Team for their hard work and dedication to the service; and
· Homelessness affected single people, couples and complete families for a variety of reasons.
RESOLVED: That Members note the report.