Agenda Item No 15
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Cabinet Meeting: 5th November, 2018
Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing and Building Services
Section 180 - Voluntary Funding for Homelessness Outcomes
Purpose of the Report
- To provide Cabinet with details of the outcomes achieved by Council funded voluntary sector homelessness schemes which assist the Authority to prevent homelessness and to discharge its statutory duties.
- To seek approval to continue to support services that positively impact on the lives of those affected by homelessness through granting them Section 180 funding.
- That Cabinet note the outcomes achieved by the projects managed by the Tabernacle Home Access Team and Llamau.
- That the Director of Environment & Housing 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 2018/19.
Reasons for the Recommendations
- To ensure that Cabinet is fully informed of the important role these projects play in supporting the Council's homelessness service.
- To ensure the continuation of the Section 180 schemes detailed.
- Part 2 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 empowers local authorities to give assistance by way of a grant or loan to voluntary organisations which assist homeless clients on matters relating to homelessness within their area. For example, by providing advice for young vulnerable people and giving bonds to people to access private rented sector housing.
- It is a requirement of Welsh Government that support services are included within the Supporting People Programme (SPPG) and that Section 180 funding must only be provided to agencies that fall outside the criteria for SPPG funding.
- Since 2005/06 the Council has provided Section 180 funding to the Tabernacle Home Access Project and Llamau, both of which provide additional homelessness prevention services to homeless people in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Relevant Issues and Options
- Given the continuation of Welfare Reform measures and the introduction in April 2015 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, homelessness presentations are increasing. This is due to the duty on the Council to provide advice, assistance and support to all eligible households who have a housing need and who may be homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days of their presentation. Therefore the Council increasingly needs to explore alternative delivery models to assist in discharging its duties, which include developing and continuing partnerships with the voluntary sector.
- Tabernacle Baptist Church Home Access was first established in 1993 and continues to provide valuable housing advice to potentially homeless individuals or families. This excellent work is also recognised and supported by Welsh Government. In 2017/2018 the project received 102 new referrals for housing assistance and continued to support a further 98 existing clients. Throughout the last financial year 84 bonds were managed of which 16 were new bonds issued during the year with just 11 claims made. Of the 16 new bonds 4 were issued to households with children and 12 were to single households. This work helped to relieve the demand on the Council's Housing Solutions Service and assisted the applicants to identify and secure suitable, affordable accommodation.
- The Council has continued to support the Tabernacle Baptist Church with this funding over the last thirteen years without undertaking a formal tender as the Organisation underwrites the bonds that they offer, which can be claimed against by a landlord at any time. Over the years, the number of outstanding bonds has increased, along with the financial liability on the Church, making it an unattractive proposition for another Organisation to take over.
- 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 assists the Vale's homeless young people to access basic home furnishings in order to set up their new home.
- In 2014/15 Llamau requested that out of the total £18,000 funding 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, which assisted in the reduction in Bed & Breakfast usage.
- Due to the success of this service, it was agreed that this £6,000 grant continue to be provided for the Supported Lodging Scheme for future years.
- Llamau, in partnership with the Housing Solutions and Vale Children Services Team also assists the Council in meeting the requirements of the Southwalk Judgement by ensuring that young people in the Vale of Glamorgan continue to receive the best and most appropriate support and assistance.
- A steering group made up of officers from Housing, Housing Solutions, Social Services, Youth Offending Service, Llamau & Gwalia has been created to develop and monitor these services. This group identifies and resolves gaps in provision to ensure the young people of the Vale have the tailored support needed to help them to manage the diverse range of challenges they experience. One new action required which was identified by the 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 including Supported Lodgings.
- The Supported Lodgings Scheme continues to be an essential support and accommodation resource which provides appropriate temporary accommodation. It ensures that both housing and life skills support is available to help prepare the young people for independent living. Although the initial target was to secure 30 supported lodgings units, a lower demand for placements has meant it has been revised and the need is now to maintain the existing 22 made up currently of 20 occupied/allocated units plus 2 units available for emergency presentations.
- Despite the slight reduction in the number of supported lodgings units required to manage demand across the Vale, we are not looking to reduce the amount of the S180 support of £18,000 currently provided. This is because it is just a contribution towards the management of the scheme as well as towards the excellent mediation service that Llamau provides to clients of the Housing Solutions Service. The cost of providing these services is a lot higher than the current S180 contribution the Vale of Glamorgan provides.
- The slight reduction in supported accommodation units is very positive and directly related to Llamau's excellent, successful but intensive mediation work carried out to restore family relationships and prevent homelessness by negating the need for a young person to leave home.
- Llamau currently provides all of the required support services in the Vale of Glamorgan for young and vulnerable clients funded by the Supporting People Programme, which were tendered through the Sell2Wales website. These services are delivered from their premises in Barry, which is also used to offer the JIGSO, one stop shop facility and to manage the Supported Lodgings Scheme. A Social Worker from the Council's Children's Services Team is based at the one stop shop and carries out joint assessments with the Llamau staff to ensure the most appropriate services are provided to each young person and the Council meets its statutory duties. As all of these services are provided from one location by shared staff, it not only ensures that a holistic service is provided but costs are minimised. A stand-alone would not be able to be provided for £18.000 per annum if it was openly tendered.
- The continued support of these organisations and services helps prevent additional caseloads for Council staff and provides specialist, bespoke advice and support services to residents of the Vale of Glamorgan.
- The new Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 placed a duty on the entire Council to ensure that people in need of care and support receive the right help at the right time to improve their well-being and protect them from harm. This means identifying and assessing children who need care and support as early as possible, helping them engage with their families and use the resources available in their communities to provide help and support to prevent them reaching a crisis situation.. In addition, as Corporate Parents of children who are looked after, it is the Council's responsibility to keep them safe, to make sure their experiences in care are positive, and to improve the access they have to opportunities for them to succeed in life.
- The Corporate Strategy & Action Plan for Children & Young Persons is a collaborative approach to improve the general well-being of children and young people who, for whatever reason, need care and support. The on-going support of our partners is vital to the success of the Strategy particularly around the provision of suitable affordable housing options. The S180 Funding assists both Llamau and Tabernacle Home Access Teams to create these additional housing options for some of the more vulnerable households in the Vale.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
- The funding for the Tabernacle Baptist Church Home Access Scheme and the Llamau Projects are included within the Council's Funding estimates for 2018/19.
- 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
- 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)
- 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
- The development of effective homelessness services across the Vale of Glamorgan will positively impact on the lives of those threatened with homelessness, and help to protect the most vulnerable from crime.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
- 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.
- This report is consistent with the following Corporate and Service Objectives of the Councils Corporate service plan:
- Wellbeing Outcome 1: An inclusive and safe Vale
- Objective 2: Provide decent homes and safe communities.
Policy Framework and Budget
- This report is a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
- No individual ward Members have been consulted as there are no proposals within this report that would affect a specific ward.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
- Homes & Safe Communities
Part 2 Housing (Wales) Act 2014
Vale of Glamorgan Local Housing Strategy 2015-2020
Vale of Glamorgan Supporting People Local Commissioning Plan 2018-2021
Corporate Strategy & Action Plan for Children & Young Persons who need Care & Support 2016-2019
Report to Cabinet January 30th 2001- Section 180 Voluntary
Sector Funding Proposals 2002/2003
Ian Jones, Housing Solutions Manager
Elinor Hughes, Accountant
Mile Punter, Director of Environmental & Housing Services