A report from the Executive Director – Place is attached. (Key decision – reference number 5166)
Councillor Gina Needs (Cabinet Member for Social Housing) introduced the report of the Executive Director – Place seeking approval of the local delivery plan for rough sleepers and to support the Council’s efforts to secure funding to deliver the plan.
1. The requirement for all rough sleepers to be accommodated at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic as set out in the report. The Council had provided approximately 290 rough sleepers with emergency accommodation since March 2020.
2. The positive and significant support that had been provided to the individuals involved.
3. That approval was being sought to the Local Delivery Plan for rough sleepers and to support the Council’s efforts to secure funding to deliver the Plan, as detailed in the report. Members noted the significant financial costs and pressures being faced as set out in the report. The Council would continue to lobby the Government for funding to meet the costs incurred to date and the requirements going forward.
4. The wide range of different support needs and the difficulties being faced, including for those people with no recourse to public funds, and, those with significant health issues, as outlined in the report. This Plan represented a once in a lifetime opportunity to effectively end rough sleeping in the borough.
5. That this Plan would enable the Council to provide support for those vulnerable residents who it may not have been possible to engage with previously. It was hoped that long-term accommodation could be facilitated for those in need, as outlined in detail in the Plan.
6. In response to questions raised, Members were advised of the approximate number of people still rough sleeping in the Borough who had rejected offers of help from the council to date.
7. The measures being implemented by the Council, as previously considered, to support non-priority single people in their housing needs.
Alternative Options Considered: NOTED that the alternative options would be:
1. To simply end the provision of accommodation. This would see the majority returning to rough sleeping and the re-establishment of encampments across the borough. This option had been ruled out as unacceptable.
2. To continue the existing arrangements. The costs of this would be significantly higher than moving people into other forms of housing and would mean placing people out of borough for an extended period.
DECISION: The Cabinet agreed
1. The approach on the support and accommodation of rough sleepers.
2. To support the efforts to secure funding to implement the plan.
3. To support efforts to secure government policy change as set out in paragraphs 30 and 31 of the report
Reason: To approve the Local Delivery Plan for rough sleepers and to support efforts to secure funding to deliver the plan, for the reasons detailed in the report.
(Key decision – reference number 5166)