Report of the Head of Economic Growth and Housing
The Committee considered the report of the Head of Economic Growth and Housing that provided an overview of the Riverside Dispersed Accommodation pilot (the Pilot).
The report indicated that one of the actions within Sefton’s Homelessness & Rough Sleeping Strategy 2018-23 was to undertake a strategic review of temporary accommodation in Sefton to ensure that the provision was suitable; that at present Sefton’s temporary accommodation for families was based in one location but that this was now considered out of date, with many councils attempting to provide dispersed supported temporary accommodation models as well as or instead of hostel provision; that in July 2019 the Cabinet Member – Communities and Housing approved the delivery of a service to provide dispersed temporary accommodation and support services for vulnerable households, particularly for those who struggled to access tenancies; that in June 2021, the Cabinet Member approved the extension of the Pilot so that Riverside could extend the pilot by a further six months and, to also extend the provision of properties that Riverside provided by an additional 10 properties, bringing the total number of properties to 30.
The report also indicated that an evaluation of the pilot was carried out by an independent company, Impact Limited, to assess the impact of the Pilot and the final Evaluation Report was attached to the report as Appendix A. The evaluation report concluded that the return on investment for every £1 which Sefton Council spent was £3.36 which represented potential public spending cost savings associated with homeless families of £24,394 per family.
The report also provided details of future service provision; that the Pilot had recently been shortlisted for the 2022 Northern Housing Awards within the category for Best Initiative for Tackling Homelessness; and Housing Strategy and Commissioning outcomes.
The report concluded that Homeless services had been improved and recommissioned over the last four years, which had seen Sefton’s rough sleeper numbers reduced to zero and a shift in approach that would focus on residents’ strengths rather than their deficits; and that the learning gained from commissioning the Pilot with a model of dispersed supported accommodation had been a valuable lesson as Sefton looked to find better ways of assisting the most vulnerable families approaching its Housing Options Team for assistance.
Members of the Committee asked questions/commented on the following issues:
· The report and outcomes contained in the report were very good and the Council should be proud of the achievements
· The potential for elected Members to report incidences of homelessness to officers or other agencies
· How funding issues for the continuation of the scheme would be addressed in order to mainstream the service, using Flexible Homeless Support Grant
· The report indicated that there were no revenue costs associated with the proposal but could the Council be certain of this if funding streams ceased; and that this could therefore have implications for the Council’s base budget
· Clear timescales were sought on the receipt of external funding
· Reference was made to the evaluation which concluded that the ... view the full minutes text for item 5