The Board was presented with the Halton’s Draft Homelessness Strategy 2019-2024 and the Homelessness Strategy Delivery Plan 2019-2024. Both were appended to the report.
Members were advised that in accordance with the Homelessness Act 2002, it was a statutory requirement for each Local Authority area to produce a five year strategy. This Strategy superseded Halton’s Homelessness Strategy 2013-2018. The action plan would be reviewed annually, to ensure it remained current and reflected economic and legislative changes. Since the previous Strategy was implemented it was noted that the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 had come into force, so this had been incorporated and complied with into the new Strategy.
The following additional information was provided following Members’ queries:
· Housing Solutions worked with Nightstop at the moment around training and accommodation referrals. However, Housing Solutions had not been notified of the new model and how it would be delivered. It would be necessary to look at their model in detail to determine how a partnership could develop further. This would be addressed by the Local Authority’s service commissioner;
· Concerns were raised over the level of support for ex-Armed Services personnel who found themselves homeless and with mental health issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); Halton had signed up to the Cheshire, Halton and Warrington Community Covenant which encouraged support for the ex-Armed Forces Community working and residing in these areas; the Board would be provided with details of the Cheshire Armed Forces Covenant and the progress to date;
· The Housing Solutions Team employed a Landlord Accreditation Officer and a Prevention Officer to ensure that privately rented properties in the Borough were maintained to an acceptable standard;
· The Chair suggested that ‘zero hour contracts’ and ‘tenants leaving properties due to refurbishment’ be added to the causes for homelessness; and
· Member training was taking place on 11 March 2019, at 5.30 pm in the Council Chamber to cover the Housing First Programme which would be facilitated by a Combined Authority Officer.
RESOLVED: That the report be noted and comments made be considered before the Homelessness Strategy 2019-2024 is finalised.