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Agenda Item No. 9

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny (Housing and Public Protection) Committee: 13th March, 2013

 

Report of the Director of Visible Services and Housing

 

Section 180 Voluntary Funding Achieved Outcomes

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To highlight the positive contribution the Third Sector play in responding to homelessness in the Vale and the added value provided as a result of  Section 180 funding provided by the Council

Recommendation

1.             The Committee acknowledges the impact that the S180 Council funded Homelessness schemes have in reducing and preventing homelessness.

Reason for the Recommendation

1.             To ensure Committee are apprised of the important role these projects play in supporting the Council's Homelessness services.  

Background

2.             Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 empowers local authorities to give assistance by way of grant or loan to voluntary organisations concerned with homelessness or matters relating to homelessness in their area. This provides for the provision of services from local support agencies identified as having the specific areas of expertise to manage particular cases / clients or where the voluntary sector can provide services more cost effectively. For example, providing advice for young vulnerable people and bonds to access private sector housing.

3.             It is now a requirement of the Welsh Assembly Government that support services be included within the Supporting People Revenue Grant or Supporting People Grant. This means that S.180 funding need only be provided to those agencies which fall outside the criteria of the Supporting People Revenue Grant.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.             Since 2005 / 06 the Council has provided S.180 funding to three voluntary sector organisations who provided four services, in addition to the Council, to homeless persons in the Vale. These are:-

5.             Tabernacle Home Access Project – Accommodation finding and bond services - £5,000.

6.             Llamau – JIGSO project – Advice and assistance to single people aged 16 or over who are homeless or threatened with homelessness(includes a bond service, landlord and tenant support and general housing advice) – £12,000.

7.             Llamau – Furniture grants to homeless people who cannot fund the purchase of furniture - £6,000

8.             This funding allocation reflects the objectives identified in the Housing Strategy Action Plan under Strategic Aim 3: To eradicate homelessness and ensure the public have accessible, high quality advice and information on housing matters.

9.             Given the recent and pending Welfare Reform changes coupled with implications expected in 2015 through the introduction of the Housing White Paper, homelessness presentations are anticipated to increase by 25% placing even greater pressure on resources. The combination of these changes means that greater emphasis will be placed on homelessness prevention and redirecting potentially homeless households away from the statutory route provided by the Council.

10.        The following outlines the activity associated with the S180 funded schemes evidencing the vital role each project plays in provision of homelessness advice, support and prevention assisting in relieving pressure on the Council's statutory functions.

11.        Tabernacle Baptist Church - Home Access was first established in 1993 and over this period it has provided housing advice to over 3,000 potentially homeless households.

12.        In 2011-2012, 85 of those who approached Home Access for advice were families with dependant children with 113 single household presentations a total of 198 households that may otherwise have presented to the Council. Also in 2011-2012 Home Access issued 207 bonds that either maintained tenancies or provided many households access into the private rented sector. Thus evidencing a re-direction of potentially homeless households away from the Council's statutory services proving year on year to be an added valued resource.

13.        Llamau JIGSO Project - Since 2010 Llamau have worked in partnership with the Council managing single potentially homeless households with WAG consent.

14.        In 2011 Llamau reconfigured their services opening a 'one stop shop' for 16-25 yrs offering a wealth of housing advice, family mediation and supported lodgings development in partnership with the Council's Homelessness and Children's Services. The provision of holistic services has streamlined and improved not only opportunities in relation to housing but also education and employment. 

15.        In 2011-2012 Llamau received 342 new cases of young people accessing their services with 142 young people together with their families accessing the family mediation service. Out of these 142 cases Llamau successfully negotiated with the individuals and their families 92 young people returning back to their family home. Llamau have a total of 30 supported lodgings placements for young people between 16 & 17 yrs where prevention was either unsuccessful or returning home was deemed inappropriate. Many of these cases would have presented to the Council as homeless requiring temporary accommodation (B&B).

16.        Llamau's Furniture Project awarded 17 grants throughout 2011-2012 averaging £294 per grant and so far to date have awarded 13 grants at an average of £155 per grant. These grants in many cases would have opened up the private rented sector as a sustainable housing option with young people. The Council is looking at various options to increase their homelessness prevention focus, which should reduce the numbers of clients facing homelessness, reduce the use of inappropriate temporary accommodation and increase the supply of good quality temporary accommodation.

17.        In particular the allocation of the funds will reflect the objectives identified in the Housing Strategy Action Plan under Strategic Aim 3: To eradicate homelessness and ensure the public have accessible, high quality advice and information on housing matters.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

18.        The £23,000 under the S.180 funding programme is taken from the Council’s General Fund and is included within the Council’s Estimates for 2012/ 2013

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

19.        The provision of the S.180 funding to voluntary organisations will enable costly statutory duties to be redirected thus allowing the internal financial resources to become increasingly effective in identifying alternative options for the use of homelessness prevention.

20.        The S.180 funding will also promote community sustainability ensuring that we are able to utilise and range of tenure options across the Vale of Glamorgan and in particular areas of high demand.

21.        Approval of this funding will have no adverse impact on climate change.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

22.        The provision of S.180 funding to voluntary sector organisations will enable the Council to fulfil its statutory homelessness duties as set down in Part VII of the Housing Act 1996, the National Assembly for Wales Homelessness Commission, the Homelessness Act 2002 and Statutory Instrument 2001 No. 67 (w.30) Housing, Wales Homeless Persons (Priority Need) (Wales) Order 2001. Access to good quality, warm and structurally stable shelter is a fundamental human right and the development of these services will do much to ensure the basic requirement is extended to some of the most vulnerable households in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Crime and Disorder Implications

23.        The development of homelessness services will protect and support very vulnerable clients who are likely to be more susceptible to experience crime and disorder difficulties if these projects were not developed. The provision of the services to very vulnerable clients will have a beneficial impact upon reducing crime and disorder in the Vale of Glamorgan. The provision of support services to vulnerable homeless people will also allow for the Council to provide more stable housing and support which will minimise the potential for criminal activity.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

24.        The provision of S.180 resources to voluntary sector partners will enable the Council to ensure its statutory homelessness service complies with the requirements of the Homelessness Bill and the work of the Homelessness Commission, which is focused on addressing one of the most acute forms of social exclusion in Wales today. Supporting People provides a framework at the local level for the funding and support of the elderly and very vulnerable tenants and clients of Council services and enables the Council to develop and maintain support services to meet their needs.

Corporate/Service Objectives

25.        This report is consistent with the following Corporate and Service Objective of the Council:-

·         Social Wellbeing and Tackling Disadvantage

·         Ensuring that all Vale residents have access to good quality, affordable and appropriate accommodation that is sufficient for their needs

·         Providing homelessness and housing advice and information

·         Assessing the needs of vulnerable children and older people

Policy Framework and Budget

26.        This report is for information only.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

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

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

28.        Housing and Public protection

Background Papers

Part VII Housing Act 1996

 

Vale of Glamorgan Housing Strategy 2007 - 2012

 

Vale of Glamorgan Supporting People Operational Plan 2010/11

 

Report to Cabinet January 30th 2001 – S.180 Voluntary Sector Funding Proposals 2002 /2003

 

Council Minute No 457

 

Report to Cabinet S.180 Voluntary Sector Funding Proposals

 

Report to Cabinet 21st January 2009 – S.180 Voluntary Sector Funding Proposals 2008/ 09

 

Council Minutes No C685

 

Scrutiny Committee (Social Care & Health) 23rd November 2009

 

Report to Cabinet 2nd June 2010 – S.180 Voluntary Sector Funding Proposals 2012/13

 

Council Minute C911

Contact Officer

Ian Jones - Homelessness & Housing Advice Manager

Officers Consulted

Finance - Housing Accountant

Operational Manager Housing

Legal - Committee Reports

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter, Director of Visible Services and Housing