Presentation to be received from Joanne Drew, Director of Housing and Regeneration.
RECEIVED a presentation from Joanne Drew, Director of Housing and Regeneration (slides available on request), highlighting:
• The presentation aim was to help the Board understand the housing system, market and pathways in the borough, and the Council’s responsibilities including prevention of homelessness and management of Council housing.
• She also wanted to share the developing Housing Strategy and Homelessness Strategy for consultation and would welcome feedback and comments from stakeholders.
• The context was a national housing market in crisis, which played out in Enfield due to a low level of social housing and a higher percentage of private rented accommodation. There had also been a negative impact from welfare reform and changes to Local Housing Allowance.
• Enfield had the second highest number of residents in London in temporary accommodation. 77% of households in temporary accommodation were families.
• Rough sleeping had increased significantly.
• The Housing Strategy put the emphasis on growth and connected to the corporate plan. The priorities included more affordable homes for local people, Council housing, improvement in the quality and variety in private housing, regeneration, and quality homes for everyone.
• A Housing Test would be applied to everyone who wanted to provide housing in the borough, which would include health promotion. This meant designing homes that helped people to be smoke free, eat healthily, be physically active, and be emotionally well, and neighbourhoods that reduced social isolation and promoted physical activity.
• The Homelessness Strategy aimed to end homelessness in Enfield, to ensure that everyone had a safe, stable place to live, and to make homelessness prevention a priority. Residents would be supported to plan for their lifetime housing needs.
• A Homelessness Partnership Board would be launched to implement the strategy. The service would be delivered in communities. Partnership work would be strengthened and awareness raised of the Duty to Refer.
• There would be a 12-week consultation ending in September and final approval to be sought at Cabinet in November.
IN RESPONSE comments and questions were received, including:
1. The Chair confirmed the Council’s determination to deliver improvements to the quality, supply and affordability of housing in the borough. This was also a big determinant of health outcomes.
2. It was confirmed that Enfield was still a net importer of residents from other boroughs but there was now more collaborative work.
3. It was advised that ‘affordability’ meant that nobody should spend more than 40% of their gross income on their housing costs. Tenures needed to reflect income profile.
4. Arrivals from inner London boroughs often brought complex health and social issues and impacted on GP services.
5. Issues of inappropriate accommodation and homelessness were stressed with reference to discharge of patients from hospital, and causes of health problems in the first place.
6. Admission of mental health patients and potential for loss of tenancy had been a major problem, but was now being resolved more quickly. Also in respect of protection of accommodation, all hospitals had been reminded of legal obligations to notify the Housing Department of anyone whose accommodation was at risk.
7. Housing for key workers should be a priority so that services could be effectively run.
8. Young people also had concerns about affordable rent, and appropriate housing models such as co-living housing should be considered by providers.
9. Getting the community involved, and sharing accommodation was highlighted. A Homeshare Scheme initiative was good for reducing social isolation and providing cheap rented accommodation. Further information would be provided to Board members via email.
ACTION: Doug Wilson