The Housing Strategy and Enabling Manager presented a report on the subject of the Homelessness Prevention Grant and the Domestic Abuse Grant.
The Committee was advised that the grant funding was ring-fenced to support homelessness reduction and victims of domestic abuse. The Council was proposing to use the funding to support local Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations which together provided the range of services needed to help people at risk of homelessness and domestic abuse. The Council was in the process of reviewing how best to provide a rough sleeping service in the Borough. Some funding was left over in the Council’s funding allocations from Government and this could be used to address rough sleeping, using a proposed delegation to the Head of Community and Housing Services.
Following the presentation of the report, Members discussed a number of points in detail:
· The potential for the funding to be used to help reduce use of bed and breakfast properties as temporary accommodation.
· The ongoing work being undertaken to try to reduce rough sleeping in the Borough.
· The provision of support, through this funding, to vulnerable groups in society including people experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse as well as young people struggling to access affordable housing.
· The valuable provision of accommodation to ex-offenders by GreenSquare Accord.
· The increased financial support that the Council had provided to the Citizens Advice Bureau, which had experienced significant demand during the cost of living crisis.
· A recent homelessness workshop that had been held by Officers and the outcomes of this session.
· The arrangements in place to monitor use of the grant funding allocated by the Council to VCS organisations and how this was reported. Officers clarified that, following an audit of the process, monitoring arrangements had been strengthened and VCS groups were required to complete a spreadsheet demonstrating compliance on a quarterly basis in order to receive funding.
· The level of grant funding that had been allocated to Redditch and whether this was sufficient to tackle problems with homelessness and domestic abuse.
· The funding that had remained unused in the previous funding round.
· The additional funding the previous year and the top up to the Homelessness Prevention Grant which had been unexpectedly received during the year, alongside income generated from the Crash Pad and another temporary accommodation unit, had provided sufficient underspent grant to fund the initiatives that had been identified in this latest round of funding. Grant applications from partners had increased between 25 – 30 per cent since the previous year due to increases in salary costs and other associated costs.
· The grant funding that had been allocated to New Starts to help provide households with furniture and the fact that other local VCS bodies, such as the Tardebigge Relief in Need and Sickness Charities, were continuing to receive requests for help providing furniture to Council tenants.
· The action that was taken to promote the VCS groups’ services that received grant funding from the Council. The Committee was advised that VCS ... view the full minutes text for item 55