A report of Sarah Cary, Executive Director - Place is attached. (Key decision - reference number 5049)
(Report No: 167)
Councillor Gina Needs (Cabinet Member for Social Housing) introduced the report of the Executive Director – Place (No.167) providing an update and setting out further proposals to address the issue of homelessness in Enfield.
1. That the report set out progress to date since September 2019 and sought approval to progress to the next stage.
2. The problems being faced in Enfield and the progress being made through the prevention and support measures detailed in the report. The Council would continue to work with residents to intervene at an early stage in order to prevent homelessness and improve the housing situation within the Borough.
3. The specific recommendations set out in the report and reflected in the decisions below regarding joining Capital Letters as an “A” Member; the introduction of Enfield Lets; and, the joining the Single Homelessness Prevention Service. The implications of these proposals were explained in full to Members, as detailed in the report.
4. that a new housing allocations scheme was currently being developed and would be presented to a future Cabinet meeting for approval.
5. An overview of the proposed Housing Advisory Service was set out in Appendix A to the report. The service would be geographically dispersed, with staff being located in those wards with the highest level of need, as set out in section 3 of the report.
6. Members noted the financial implications of the proposals as detailed in section 12 of the report.
7. Questions were invited from the Cabinet Members and a detailed discussion took place on the proposals and their implications. Issues raised included the measures being undertaken to support single people through the Single Homelessness Prevention Service (section 10 of the report referred); the role and impact of both Capital Letters and Enfield Let which were explained in detail to Members. The role of Housing Gateway Ltd. with regard to Enfield Lets was described in detail, as set out in the report, which would in effect be an ethical lettings agency acting on behalf of the Council through Housing Gateway Ltd.
Alternative Options Considered: NOTED, the alternative options which had been considered as set out in detail in section 11 of the report in relation to Capital Letters and Enfield Let; and, Single Homelessness Prevention Service.
DECISION: The Cabinet agreed to
1. Join Capital Letters as an “A” member in Phase 2 (April 2020) subject to agreement of the terms of joining Capital Letters (the Members Agreement). This to be authorised by the Director of Law and Governance.
2. Nominate the Director of Housing and Regeneration to the Board of Capital Letters.
3. Nominate the Leader Member for Social Housing to the Borough Representative Body of Capital Letters.
4. Approve the phased mobilisation of Enfield Let commencing April 2020 as a trading division of Housing Gateway Ltd., subject to the approval of the Board of Housing Gateway to the viability of the Business Plan with authority delegated to the Leader of the Council in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement to agree the revised Housing Gateway Business Plan arising.
5. Delegate authority to the Executive Director – Place to join the Single Homelessness Prevention Service, subject to affordability within the agreed 2020/21 budget.
6. Note progress on the implementation of the Homelessness Prevention Strategy including the launch of the Homelessness Prevention Board.
Reasons: The human cost of homelessness and households spending years in temporary accommodation was enormous. At the same time the financial cost to the Council of an ever-increasing number of households in temporary accommodation was growing. The proposals outlined in the report were part of the Council’s wider homelessness prevention strategy and aimed to reduce the number of people becoming homeless and provide solutions for those who did lose their home. The Council was set to benefit from joining Capital Letters using MHCLG funding and this should assist the Council in reducing the temporary accommodation budget pressure. By working with other boroughs, the council would minimise competition for properties and improve the opportunity to house residents closer to the borough.
(Key decision – reference number 5049)