Agenda item

Homelessness Grant, Flexible Homelessness Support and Homelessness New Burden's Fund Report 2019/20


The Housing Strategy and Enabling Team Leader presented a report in respect of the Homelessness Grant, Flexible Homelessness Support and the Homelessness New Burdens fund and proposed expenditure in 2019/20. Members were informed that the Council had been allocated just over £193,000 for 2019/20 in the flexible support grant and over £30,000 for the New Burdens Fund.  The New Burdens Fund had been introduced to help Councils manage the additional duties set out in the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.  A number of suggestions had been made regarding the use of this funding, which included investing in two new posts to assist with temporary accommodation and rents in the private sector.  Financial support continued to be provided to Redditch Nightstop and Redditch Borough Council was working with Bromsgrove District Council to provide funding to the CCP Rough Sleeper Outreach Service.


Following the presentation of the report Members discussed a number of matters in detail:


·                The need for the Council to support residents living in both social housing and the private rented sector.  Members noted that the proposed use of the funding would support this objective.

·                The additional Council duties arising from the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 and the emphasis that this placed on preventing homelessness which required Councils to be proactive.

·                The use of grant funding to support additional posts and the extent to which the Council could expect to receive this funding in the future.  Officers advised that the Council had not been advised that the funding would be ending and therefore it had been built into the Medium Term Financial Plan for inclusion in the budget in future years.

·                The announcement by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government that an extra £46 million would be invested in the Rough Sleeper Initiative and the impact that this funding could have on rough sleepers in the Borough.

·                The number of rough sleepers in Redditch and the reasons why they were in this position.  Members noted that there were eight rough sleepers and all had been and would continue to be offered assistance by the Council, though they had to date refused any help.




1)        the Flexible Homelessness Support Grant is allocated to the initiatives in 1(a) and that the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 New Burdens Funding be allocated to fund the required homelessness IT system with Housing Partners at £9,000 per year, additional staffing resources and any appropriate training requirements;





Homelessness Reduction Act Prevention – funding for posts


Detail – the latest Act created two new legal duties – to prevent and relieve homelessness. As a result the numbers of households living in temporary accommodation could rise and it also becomes increasingly important to help people remain appropriately housed. The proposed funding will therefore create 2 new posts to support the timely move-on from temporary accommodation, and tenancy sustainment in the private rented sector in Redditch. (see 3.8) The Executive has already agreed to support these posts as part of the Medium Financial Plan 2019/20-2022/23 when it met in February 2019.



Rent Deposits and Spend to Save


Detail – most local authorities operate a fund that helps people access the private rented sector, and which can also be used to intervene to prevent tenants losing their existing home. These interventions are far less than the cost of homelessness itself, so they represent good value for money, in addition to helping reduce homelessness in the borough. In the last two years the Council has provided over 80 rent deposits, so investing extra in this area and making spend to save interventions with local households should reduce homelessness in the borough.



Temporary Accommodation Management Fee replacement.


The Council is legally obliged to provide temporary accommodation to eligible homeless households. The Temporary Accommodation Management Fee previously associated with this activity has now been rolled up into the new Flexible Homelessness Support Grant. 



Redditch Nightstop -  Outreach Worker up to 35yrs


Detail – in August 2018, with financial support from the Council, Nightstop launched a new extended service to provide emergency housing for people aged 21 to 35. This was in response to increasing demand from this client group, who have been subject to some of the most significant changes inside the welfare benefits system. Since August, Nightstop have assisted 23 single people, often with complex and multiple needs, aged 21 to 35 with emergency housing placements, providing short term practical and emotional support whilst also reducing demand on other services. Nightstop also work closely with the Council on addressing the longer term housing needs of this client group.  



CCP Rough Sleeper Outreach Service


Detail – in the past year CCP have worked with 40 people, some of whom have been street homeless in Redditch, or have a street presence in the town centre since March 2018. CCP works closely with the Council to secure accommodation for these people, safeguarding their health and wellbeing, reducing costs and demand on other services such as the Police and Health, whilst ensuring the town centre remains an attractive and safe place for local residents and businesses alike. This funding also supports CCP interventions under the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol, which targets street homelessness at times of the year when temperatures are at their lowest.






1)        delegated authority be granted to the Head of Community Services following consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Housing to use any unallocated Grant during the year or make further adjustments to current initiatives as necessary to ensure full utilisation of the Grants for 2019/20.

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