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Stockport’s Homelessness Strategy 2003-2006

ree h r T ate a Ye Upd 07 20

www.stockporthomes.org


Contents

Page Introduction

3

Outcomes from 2003/4 to 2006/7

4

Preventing Homelessness Providing a Safety Net Minimising Homelessness (via strategic working)

5 6 7

Hard facts - Stockport’s Homelessness Statistics 8 The Future

9

Audit and Inspection

10

Comments Slip

11

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Introduction Stockport’s Homelessness Strategy was written as a direct result of the Homelessness Act 2002, and the then DTLR (Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions) report of the same year, More than a Roof. The 2003 Audit Commission report Homelessness: Responding to the New Agenda, followed this up by focusing on preventing homelessness. On 1 April 2004, legislation was passed to ensure that no homeless family with children should live in bed-and-breakfast (B&B) accommodation except in an emergency, and even then for no more than 6 weeks. Since then, the government has produced an overarching national homelessness strategy; Sustainable Communities: Settled Homes, Changing Lives (published March 2005), which has targets that included: Halving the number of households living in temporary accommodation by 2010, which we are well on the way to achieving; Increasing the range and number of preventative measures to help people avoid homelessness; and Increasing access to settled homes. Legislation requires that Homelessness Strategies be written every 5 years, but here in Stockport we have decided to work to a 3 year cycle as that gives more opportunities to respond and develop to the local situation.

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Outcomes 2003/4 - 2006/7 Recapping over the 3 years that the Homelessness Strategy has been in place we have seen many successes. A particular strength has been the increasing development of partnership working, which has led to improved services and outcomes for our shared customers. The strategy incorporated 3 key themes against which were set 3 main outcomes, the results of which are shown in the table below. Theme

Proposed Outcome

Achieved?

Prevention of homelessness

Reduce homelessness presentations by 50 households each year

Homelessness presentations have reduced from 908 in 2003/4 to 392 in 2006/7

Improving the safety net

Improved standard of temporary accommodation, support and involvement for people who are homeless

Many physical improvements to schemes and increased support, partner agency involvement and staffing in place

Minimising homelessness (via strategic working)

Reduce the number of people who are homeless in the longer term

A range of options and prevention systems have led to homeless acceptances reducing by approximately 150 households from 2003/4 to 2006/7

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Outcomes 2003/4 - 2006/7 Below are some of the key achievements over the 3 years of the strategy:

Preventing Homelessness Special Needs Housing Officer offers weekly advice surgeries on mental health wards and acts as a liaison officer for hospital staff. This works to reduce ‘bed-blocking’ by ensuring those ready for discharge receive appropriate advice and information. This can include a planned move with support when necessary, which increases the likelihood of sustaining accommodation; A named Housing Advice Office provides link work with local prisons and criminal justice agencies, ensuring those leaving prison to no settled accommodation receive a planned move with support services engaged, thus reducing the likelihood of re-offending; Housing Options Outreach Worker in place acting as an advocate for private rented sector tenants, maintaining tenancies and offering advice services.This has resulted in a reduction in the numbers of people losing accommodation due to them losing their private sector tenancy; Free internet and telephone service offered at the Housing Information Centre for all customers to access private rented sector information, and offers formal advice on this matter and promotional information which can also be accessed.

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Outcomes 2003/4 - 2006/7 Providing a Safety Net Standard of Temporary Accommodation has been improved to meet DDA requirements, including provision of wheelchair standard flats at all 3 schemes ensuring some of the most vulnerable homeless applicants can access the same services as non-disabled applicants.The service has continued to resist the use of bed and breakfast accommodation for homeless families and, going beyond this, shared accommodation has been eliminated for most families, except for in the most urgent / emergency situations; Working with Stockport Council and Pennine Care, funding has been made available for 2 mental health workers to be attached to the services dealing with people who are homeless. This should reflect the successes already seen with substance mis-users by improving access to services, support and tenancy sustainment for those with mental ill-health. The negative impact of homelessness has been minimised with the elimination of use of temporary accommodation outside of the Stockport area, thus ensuring that customers are better able to benefit from Stockport’s support services; Rough sleeping has been further reduced, with the latest multi-agency count finding only 1 rough sleeper; A Priority Prolific Offenders Protocol has been introduced and recognised as in the top 15% nationally.This is targeting the most prolific offenders and will ultimately reduce crime within the area.

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Outcomes 2003/4 - 2006/7 Minimising Homelessness A Customer Involvement Officer dedicated to the Housing Need and Support Service, has been employed, which has improved customer consultation and involvement and will have a significant impact in the forthcoming Homelessness Strategy. Homelessness presentations have reduced by 43% from 2003/4 to 392 in 2006/7, and homelessness acceptances have reduced by approximately 150 households from 2003/4 to 2006/7. The Homelessness Strategy 2003-6, was successfully implemented with the help of many partner agencies. The Action Plan set 89 targets, and 94% of these were achieved, with a small number of actions not being delivered (some of which are less relevant due to changing priorities or local circumstances).

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Homelessness Statistics The table below gives the key causes of homelessness and some of the intervention measures in place to help address the issues raised. Percentage

Number of cases

Parents, relatives or friends no longer willing or able to accommodate A Mediation Worker is well established, and we are exploring options for an intensive family mediation/support service 16/17 year old protocol effectively mediates young people home Increasing housing options work allows for planned moves

36.2%

137

Relationship breakdown Dramatic decrease in DV acceptances (as a result of increased awareness of the issue, outreach work and security measures being provided) Part of the Domestic Abuse Forum Part of MARAC (Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference)

18.2%

69

End of Assured Shorthold Tenancy Rent Bond Scheme is successful Increased emphasis on homelessness prevention via Housing Options Outreach Worker who acts as an advocate for private rented sector tenants Increased debt advice services (including 24 hour HB processing)

17%

64

Category - reason for homelessness

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The Future The next Homelessness Strategy is scheduled to be in place by April 2007 and will be produced for Stockport Council by Stockport Homes, the Council’s Arms Length Management Organisation. This new strategy will again run for a 3 year period and in conjunction with this will be the revision of the Allocations Policy, so that joint themes and outcomes can be developed. Activities planned for the Homelessness Strategy 2007-2009 include the following: Introducing an accredited landlord scheme incorporating the Rent Bond Scheme and Resettlement Support, thus increasing Housing Options for those in housing need; Expanding mediation services which target specific groups and offer more intensive support; Working with social housing providers to reduce evictions primarily for rent arrears thus increasing prevention work; Introducing a ‘sanctuary scheme’ offering victims of domestic abuse the opportunity to remain in their current accommodation; Introducing additional floating support schemes thus maintaining and sustaining many more tenancies for vulnerable customers (for example, looked after children, people with mental health conditions and offenders).

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Stockport Homes Stockport Homes - 3*s and Excellent In June 2006 the Audit Commission inspected Stockport Homes and awarded it 3 stars with excellent prospects for improvement. This is the highest possible rating that can be awarded and Stockport Homes is one of only ten such organisations to achieve this standard in the country. Within this inspection Housing Options was noted as “an area of significant strength�. The inspection recognised that: The service is accessible to customers; The service is supported by good quality information and advice; There is a strong preventative agenda in place; and Partnership working to support customers is well developed. This acknowledgement connects with the underlying priorities that the service laid out at the beginning of the first Homelessness Strategy in 2003 and sets the standard for services customers can expect to result from the strategy for 2007-2009. Service providers in Stockport are not complacent and recognise that there is much that can be done to improve the services provided to customers.We intend to be leaders in the delivery of high quality and inclusive services to people in housing need. The forthcoming Homelessness Strategy will be formed with customers and partners to both promote this vision and realise this ambition.

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Comments Slip We welcome comments from our customers and other stakeholders. If you would like to make a comment about the Homelessness Strategy or our service in general, please complete and return this form to the address below. You can get a copy of the full Homelessness Strategy by contacting Joanne Claridge. Joanne Claridge, Homelessness Strategy Development Officer, Housing Options Team, Stockport Homes, 1 St. Peter’s Square, Stockport SK1 1NZ Telephone: 0161 474 3716 Fax: 0161 474 3775 Email: joanne.claridge@stockporthomes.org The full Homelessness Strategy is available on our website: www.stockporthomes.org Name Address Postcode Tel Email Comments


Accessing our services

Ref No 124/May 2007

This leaflet gives you information about the Homelessness Strategy 2003-2006. If you would like a copy in large print, Braille and on audio tape or CD, please contact the Service Improvement Team on 0161 474 2860 or email: quality@stockporthomes.org

www.stockporthomes.org

Homeless Strategy Summary 2003-2006 Yr3 update  

Stockport’s Homelessness Strategy www.stockporthomes.org Upd ate 200 7 2003-2006 Contents Audit and Inspection 10 Preventing Homelessness 5...

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