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The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 30 November, 2015

Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance & Community Safety

Section 180 - Voluntary Funding for Homelessness Outcomes

Purpose of the Report

  1. To provide Cabinet with outcome information from Council funded voluntary sector homelessness schemes which assist the Authority in preventing homelessness and discharging its statutory duties.
  2. To seek approval to continue Section 180 funding for services that positively impact on the lives of those affected by homelessness.

Recommendations

  1. That Cabinet note the outcomes achieved by the projects managed by the Tabernacle Home Access Team and Llamau.
  2. That the Head of Housing & Building Services be authorised to pay Section 180 funding to the Tabernacle Home Access Project ( £5,000) and Llamau's JIGSO Project and Supported Lodgings Project ( £18,000) for the financial year 2015/16

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. To ensure that Cabinet is fully informed of the important role these projects play in supporting the Council's homelessness service.
  2. To ensure the continuation of the Section 180 schemes detailed.

Background

  1. Part 2 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 empowers local authorities to give assistance by way of a grant or loan to voluntary organisations who assist homeless clients or matters relating to homelessness within their area. For example providing advice for young vulnerable people and giving bonds to people to access private rented sector housing.
  2. It is a requirement of Welsh Government that support services be included within Supporting People Programme (SPPG) and that Section 180 funding must only be provided to agencies who fall outside the criteria for SPPG funding.
  3. Since 2005/06 the Council has provided Section 180 funding to the Tabernacle Home Access Project and Llamau who both provide additional homelessness prevention services to homeless people in the Vale.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Given the continuing of Welfare Reform measures and the introduction in April 2015 of the Housing (Wales) Act, homelessness presentation figures are expected to greatly increase. The Council now has a legal duty to assist all eligible and homeless applicants who contact the Authority within 56 days of their presentation. Therefore the council increasingly needs to explore alternative delivery models to assist in discharging its duties, which includes developing partnerships with the voluntary sector .
  2. Tabernacle Baptist Church Home Access was first established in 1993 and provides valuable housing advice to potentially homeless households. In 2014/2015 the project was contacted by 248 clients of which 116 were new referrals for advice and assistance. The remaining 132 received on-going support. Home Access issued 17 new bonds and continued to support 95 households previously provided with bonds. These households consisted of; 48 families, 41single people, and 6 couples.
  3. Since 2005/06 the Council has provided Llamau with a grant of £12,000 per annum in support of their JIGSO Project which provides mediation and support to young people and families in crisis. Historically, the Council has also provided £6,000 annually towards a furniture scheme which specifically assisted the Vale's young people to access basic home furnishings in order to set up their new home.
  4. In 2014/15 Llamau requested that the £6,000 formerly used for the furniture scheme be transferred to their very successful Supported Lodgings Project because of the preparatory work required for the pending new homelessness prevention duties. This was agreed and led to a significant increase in the temporary accommodation resources available to the Council assisting in the alleviation of Bed & Breakfast accommodation use.
  5. Due to the success of this service, Llamau has now asked that this £6,000 grant continue to be provided for the Supported Lodging Scheme for future years.
  6. Llamau in partnership with the Housing Solutions and Vale Children Services Team assist the Council in meeting the requirements of the Southwark Judgement by ensuring that young people in the Vale of Glamorgan continue to receive the best and most appropriate support and assistance.
  7. The Southwark Judgement was made by the Law Lords in May 2009 and is now a piece of case law that obliges children's services to provide accommodation and support to homeless 16-17yr olds. Previously many children's services deemed that young people in the age group did not necessarily 'need care' from local authorities but 'help and support' in accessing housing benefits. As a result the Vale of Glamorgan has held a number of workshops with relevant agencies and departments to ensure that all 16-17 year olds in need are appropriately and effectively supported across the Vale of Glamorgan.
  8. A steering group represented by Housing, Homelessness, Social Services, Youth Offending Service, Llamau & Gwalia has also been created to develop and monitor the services, identifying and finding solutions for any gaps in provision ensuring the young people of the Vale have the tailored support necessary to help manage the diverse range of challenges experienced. An action from this group was to develop a specific Young Persons Accommodation Panel. This group now exists and meets every 4 weeks to map and discuss the young people currently accommodated, new referrals and the accommodation resources available that includes the Supported Lodgings Scheme.
  9. The Supported Lodgings Scheme continues to be an essential support and accommodation resource providing appropriate temporary accommodation, ensuring that both housing and life skills support is available to help prepare the young people for independent living. The target is to have 30 supported lodgings units and Llamau is working hard to meet this, having already secured 24 placements.
  10.  The continued support to the organisations helps prevent additional caseloads to Council staff and provides specialist, bespoke advice and support services to residents of the Vale of Glamorgan.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. The funding for the Tabernacle Baptist Church Home Access Scheme and the Llamau Projects are included within the Council's estimates for 2015/16.
  2. The provision of the Section 180 funding to voluntary organisations will enable the costly statutory obligations to be delivered in a more cost effective way.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. The Section 180 funding will promote community stability ensuring that the Council is able to utilise a range of tenure options across the Vale of Glamorgan and particularly in areas of high demand.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The provision of the Section 180 funding to voluntary sector organisations will enable the Council to fulfil its statutory homelessness duties set down in Part 2 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. The development of effective homelessness services across the Vale of Glamorgan will positively impact on the lives of those threatened with homelessness, and to help to protect the most vulnerable from crime.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. The provision of Section 180 resources to the voluntary sector partners will enable the Council to ensure its statutory homelessness service complies with the requirements of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, which is focussed on addressing one of the most acute forms of social exclusion in Wales.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. This report is consistent with the following Corporate and Service Objectives of the Council: Social Wellbeing & Tackling Disadvantage:

Ensuring that all Vale residents have access to good quality affordable and appropriate accommodation that is sufficient to meet their needs. Providing quality, consistent homelessness/ housing advice and information.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. No members were consulted as there are no proposals within this report that would affect a specific ward.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Housing & Public Protection

Background Papers

Part 2 Housing (Wales) Act 2014

Vale of Glamorgan Housing Strategy 2015-2020

Vale of Glamorgan Supporting People Local Commissioning Plan 2014-2017

Report to Cabinet January 30th 2001- Section 180 Voluntary Sector Funding Proposals 2002/2003

Council Minute No 457

Contact Officer

Ian Jones, Housing Solutions Manager

Officers Consulted

Committee Reports

Legal Services

Lori Bigglestone, Accountant

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter, Director of Environmental & Housing

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