Agenda, decisions and minutes
Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning
Thursday, 5th October, 2017 3.00 pm
Venue: The Capesthorne Room - Town Hall, Macclesfield SK10 1EA. View directions
Contact: Gaynor Hawthornthwaite Democratic Services Officer
Apologies for Absence
The Homelessness Act 2002 places a duty upon local authorities to carry out a review of homelessness in their area and formulate and publish a strategy for the future based on the results of that review. The Homelessness Strategy provides direction, a framework and an action plan so that any agency or individual can clearly understand what the Council and our partners are doing to support people in housing need.
The Strategy details how the council and partners would work to prevent homelessness and ensure accommodation and support is available for those who were homeless or at risk of homelessness.
The review has highlighted the increase in the number of homelessness prevention cases, which have been successful and have increased year on year.
This new legislation directs that the Council must help more people and for longer periods of time which will place significant new burdens upon the Housing Options Team and partners to ensure more accommodation is available in the right place at the right time to meet those responsibilities. Additionally all public authorities will have a duty to refer people who they feel are at risk of homelessness to the Housing Options Team.
The strategy sets out four clear aims which are to:
· Help people who are homeless to secure accommodation
· Enable more people to remain in their home and prevent them from becoming homeless
· Provide interventions so no-one has to sleep rough in Cheshire East
· Ensure adequate support is in place to help people maintain and sustain accommodation
There were no apologies for absence.
Declarations of Interest
To provide an opportunity for Members and Officers to declare any disclosable pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests in any item on the agenda.
There were no declarations of interest.
Public Speaking Time/Open Session
In accordance with Procedure Rules Nos.11 and 35 a period of 10 minutes is allocated for members of the public to address the meeting on any matter relevant to the work of the body in question. Individual members of the public may speak for up to 5 minutes but the Chairman or person presiding will decide how the period of time allocated for public speaking will be apportioned where there are a number of speakers. Members of the public are not required to give notice to use this facility. However, as a matter of courtesy, a period of 24 hours’ notice is encouraged.
Members of the public wishing to ask a question at the meeting should provide at least three clear working days’ notice in writing and should include the question with that notice. This will enable an informed answer to be given.
There were no members of the public present wishing to use the public speaking facility, however, Cllr Jill Rhodes had submitted some comments in respect of the Homelessness Strategy in advance of the meeting, which the Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning, Cllr Ainsley Arnold, summarised as follows:-
Cllr Rhodes welcomed the strategy, which she felt was comprehensive and well researched. She felt that it was good to see the emphasis on the prevention of homelessness.
She did, however, point out a number of areas which she felt needed to be considered further, or brought to the further attention of Members including:
· Child poverty, which the strategy indicated was a strong indicator of young adult homelessness. Whilst recognised that Child Poverty was not within the scope of the strategy it was an issue which Members needed to be aware of.
· Concerns in relation to the increase of rough sleepers, especially in Crewe and the lack of provision during the summer months. There was the suggestion that the Local Authority should take responsibility for coordinating voluntary activities that supported rough sleepers.
Cllr Arnold, thanked Cllr Rhodes for her comments and stated that they would be submitted as part of the consultation process and reviewed by officers. In the interim he responded to the comments on rough sleepers and stated that the Housing Team offered a number of services to rough sleepers, including “No Second Night Out” and also the new Upstreaming Project, which had been awarded a grant of £100k, which were available during the whole year and not just in Winter months. The Council recognised that this was a growing issue and this was why it was a key area of focus within the strategy.
To consider a report on the Homelessness Strategy 2018-2021 for consultation purposes.
1. the draft Homelessness Strategy and its preliminary findings be noted;
2. officers be authorised to publically consult on the draft strategy for a period of 9 weeks, before incorporating the responses into the finalised strategy; and
3. note that following the consultation period the revised strategy will be presented to Cabinet for formal adoption.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning considered a report on the Homelessness Strategy.
It was reported that Cheshire East’s Housing Options service had an overarching aim of providing an exemplary service to provide housing advice and assistance to help residents find suitable accommodation. The service was facing a number of challenges which had been brought about by emerging national policies and local pressures.
The Homelessness Act 2002 placed a duty upon local authorities to carry out a review of homelessness in their area and formulate and publish a strategy for the future, based on the results of that review. The Homelessness Strategy provided direction, a framework and an action plan so that any agency or individual could clearly understand what the Council and its partners were doing to support people in housing need.
It was noted that the Homelessness Strategy for 2017-21 had been developed putting residents at the heart of the service. Working groups had carried out discussions with residents to ensure that their experiences and views had been fed into the review and the strategy to support their needs. Partnership working was a key focus of the strategy and several of the actions promoted the need for a unified response, especially as the new Homeless Reduction Act imposed more duties upon the Council. This was aimed at embedding the joint approach as a driving force for the success of the strategy.
The Portfolio Holder was requested to note the draft Homelessness Strategy and its preliminary findings and to authorise officers to publically consult on the draft strategy for a period of 9 weeks, before incorporating the responses into the finalised strategy, noting that following the consultation period the revised strategy would be presented to Cabinet for formal adoption.
That the Portfolio Holder:-
1. Notes the draft Homelessness Strategy and its preliminary findings;
2. Authorises officers to publically consult on the draft strategy for a period of 9 weeks, before incorporating the responses into the finalised strategy; and
3. Notes that following the consultation period the revised strategy will be presented to Cabinet for formal adoption.