(Report to Follow)
The Strategic Housing Officer was welcomed to the meeting in order to present the report for Homelessness, Flexible Homelessness Support and Homelessness Reduction Grants 2020/21. During the presentation the following was highlighted to Members:
· The allocation of Homelessness Prevention Grant report was brought before Members annually. In previous years, the Flexible Homelessness Support Grant and the Homelessness Reduction Act Grant had been awarded to the Council. It was clarified to Members that these had been uplifted and combined and were now known as Homelessness Prevention Grant. Members were advised that this award was in addition to the Homelessness Prevention grant budget set by the Council.
· The report requested approval of the allocation of grants and outlined the services, organisations and initiatives to help prevent homelessness and assist those who had become homeless. In addition to this the report requested delegated authority to the Head of Community and Housing Services following consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Strategic Housing to use any unallocated Grant during the year or make further adjustments as necessary to ensure full utilisation of the Grants for 2021/22 in support of existing or new schemes be approved. The new Homelessness Prevention Grant was ring-fenced and funds were to be used to meet the three priorities set out by Government.
· The total allocation for funding was £285,794. The report proposed that £247,171 be allocated to a variety of projects and initiatives that included projects for young people, the funding of a Young Persons Pathway Worker, furniture provision for ex-offenders, Rapid Response Winter Weather Workers and the management of temporary accommodation costs for Bromsgrove District Housing. The Board were advised that the remainder of the funding of £38,623 had not been allocated, as this year’s grant award had been uplifted on the 21st December 2020 and there had not been time to consider how it might be best utilised. It was planned that the Countywide Homelessness Strategy would be considered in order to identify any gaps in provision that would benefit from assistance.
The Chairman invited the Portfolio Holder for Strategic Housing and Health and Well Being to comment on the report and she explained that it was important to continue providing funding to these providers and thanked officers for all of their hard work in the prevention of Homelessness in the District.
Members questioned the figures that were presented in the report and it was agreed that there had been a miscalculation and that it would be amended to reflect the correct figures.
There was detailed discussion regarding the access to information in respect of rough sleeping and homelessness and it was requested that information be more readily available throughout the District for those who needed to access services, particularly outside of office hours. It was clarified to Members that information was available online, however it was suggested by some Members that those who were in need of services might not have access to digital equipment.
Some Members queried, in respect of the CCP Rough Sleeper Outreach and Support Service that it was proposed would receive funding, how many Bromsgrove homeless or rough sleepers would benefit from this funding. It was clarified that approximately 10 people had been assisted over the previous year by this service in addition to responding Streetlink requests. Some Members requested the data in respect of the numbers of homeless and rough sleepers in Bromsgrove and the Portfolio Holder for Strategic Housing and Health and Well Being explained that Portfolio Holders across the County did meet to discuss this particular area and undertook to provide the Board with this information. It was suggested that Homelessness would be added to the Board’s Work Programme for future consideration.
RESOLVED that the Homelessness, Flexible Homelessness Support and Homelessness Reduction Grants 2020/21 be noted.