Issue - meetings
Rough Sleepers Briefing Paper
(a) That the Committee welcomes the report and the work being undertaken with multi-agencies to meet the challenges for rough sleepers; and
(b) That the thanks of the Committee be passed to all the Homelessness team for the work being undertaken to meet the challenges for all people presenting as homeless.
The Chief Officer (Housing and Assets) presented a report on priority actions being taken to tackle and prevent homelessness across Flintshire as set out in the Council’s Local Homelessness Action Plan which was based on the three main themes of the Regional Homelessness Strategy. The report focussed on the ‘People’ theme and its priority of rough sleepers.
It was acknowledged that rough sleeping was no longer confined to major towns and cities as it was extending into other areas such as communities in Flintshire. There were a number of contributing factors, often involving complex long-term issues, requiring a multi-agency response including the Drug & Alcohol team, Housing and Welfare teams. Following the withdrawal of emergency bed provision by the service provider in Flintshire, an alternative temporary facility had been identified in Shotton to accommodate the night shelter service. With the recruitment process underway, it was hoped that the new service would be available from January for a period of 18 months to two years until permanent accommodation could be found.
The Chief Officer spoke about the range of positive initiatives delivered through the Local Action Plan such as promotion of the Streetlink app. The report detailed the various reasons for homelessness with a large percentage due to parents no longer willing or able to accommodate the individual. The team had recently engaged with four individuals who were found to be sleeping rough but recognised that there were more out there including ‘sofa surfers’. The recruitment process was underway for the Housing First service which was an effective model in engaging and provide wraparound support to rough sleepers with multiple complex needs.
In thanking officers for the comprehensive report, the Chairman welcomed the Housing First pilot and said that the Council should be commended for its approach to tackling homelessness.
Councillor Attridge thanked the officers and Cabinet Member for the report and the actions being taken by the Council. He said it was disappointing that the Council’s strategic partner had removed the emergency bed provision at short notice and that housing associations could do more to address homelessness in Flintshire. In response to questions, the Chief Officer spoke about developing the multi-agency approach into an effective model to help get people off the streets. The night shelter service provider was keen to develop and train volunteers and would be working with various organisations such as Help the Homeless. The Homeless and Advice Manager said that establishing links with volunteers, including members of the public, would provide a network of support to help those in need.
Councillor Dolphin referred to discussions on the development of the North Wales Safeguarding Board and suggested a joint meeting with the Social and Health Care Overview & Scrutiny Committee to explore the subject in more depth.
The Committee supported the Facilitator’s suggestion for an update in six months’ time to review the impact of actions and that Social and Health Care Overview & Scrutiny Committee Members be invited. The Chief Officer said that the service worked alongside Social Services ... view the full minutes text for item 32