Community Policy and Review Panel
Thursday, 17th September, 2015 7.00 pm - Agenda and minutes

Venue: Concorde Room, Council Offices, Farnborough

Contact: Lauren Harvey  01252 398827 Email: lauren.harvey@rushmoor.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

7.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 137 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 11th June, 2015 (copy attached).

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 11th June, 2015 were approved and signed by the Chairman.

8.

Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2011-2016 pdf icon PDF 103 KB

To receive the Housing and Homelessness Strategy Update for 2015; Report No. EHH 1510 (copy attached). The Report provides information on the progress made in meeting the strategic housing objectives that were established in 2011. The Housing and Homelessness fourth update and the delivery plan are appended to the Report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel was joined by the Head of Environmental Health and Housing (Ms Qamer Yasin), Strategy Enabling Managers (Ms Zoe Paine and Ms Sally Ravenhill) and the Housing Options Manger (Ms Suzannah Hellicar) to consider the Head of Environmental Health and Housing Report No. EHH 1510 providing the fourth update of the Housing and Homeslessness Strategy and the delivery plan. The strategic housing objectives had been established in 2011.

 

            The Panel was reminded of the purpose of the Strategy, which was to make sure that Rushmoor’s residents had access to good quality homes that were affordable and appropriate to their needs. The Strategy had four themes:

 

·         housing supply and the delivery of good quality housing

·         homelessness and homelessness prevention

·         meeting the needs of specific groups

·         neighbourhoods and housing standards

 

            It was noted that during 2014/15, 149 affordable homes had been delivered, equating to a total of 431 since the introduction of the strategy in 2011. Members were informed that the Wellesley development work had started, with the first 20 affordable units available from Spring 2016. North Town regeneration was described as First Wessex’s priority development, with 135 units delivered in 2014/15 and another 152 units due to be completed by 2017/18.

 

The Panel was informed that an old Sergent’s Mess had been developed into 45 units of temporary accommodation, with investments from Oak Housing and the Homes and Communities Agency. Some residents had been placed in the accommodation which was made up of large bedrooms that slept between 1-5 people, private kitchens and bathrooms and a large outside space. It was estimated that a £200,000 saving would be made by the Council per year. Members heard that this accommodation would only be available for seven years because of the Project Wellesley development, however, it was explained that more affordable housing would be made available before then.

 

During 2014/15, the Housing Options Team had given advice to over 600 households and provided 132 rent deposits to assist residents into the private sector. Rushmoor had given a £7,500 grant to go towards the Vine’s Night Shelter, which assisted 28 people. It was noted that this was a very successful programme as it also encouraged people to engage with the Vine. The Panel heard that the the Vine had received an award for excellent practice.

 

The presentation included a number of examples of work the Council had been doing in order to meet the needs of specific groups, including consultation work with Planning on pitch provision for gypsies, travellers and travelling show people. Other work involved home safety awareness training for older Nepalese residents with Hampshire Fire and Rescue, work with registered providers to deliver specialist housing for older residents and the development of wheelchair accessible units along with 90 disabled facilities grants used for ramps, grab rails and stair lifts to help residents stay in their homes.

 

It was reported that reviews of registered providers had improved partnership working as the Council had been able to gain a greater understanding of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Homelessness in Aldershot Car Park

To receive a presentation from the Housing Options Manager, Ms. Suzannah Hellicar, on the current homelessness issue in the multi-storey car park at High Street, Aldershot.

Minutes:

The Housing Options Manager, Ms Suzannah Hellicar, was invited to the meeting to update the Panel on Aldershot’s situation with rough sleepers and the actions that had been taken.

 

The Panel heard that there had been an increase in the number of people sleeping rough or sofa surfing both nationally and in the Borough. It was noted that there were approximately 24 rough sleepers in Aldershot, although, it had been difficult to record the numbers of street homelessness due to individual situations constantly changing. The majority were men, aged between 19 and 65 and many had substance misuse issues. While there had been a number of attempts to engage with the client group, they had demonstrated an unwillingness to engage with the Council and agencies. It was believed that they had also been associated with anti-social behaviour in and around Aldershot Town Centre. 70% of the rough sleepers in Aldershot were Rushmoor residents while others had potentially come from neighbouring areas, where work would be carried out to re-connect those residents to their home areas.

 

The significant increase in numbers was due to individuals moving in with vulnerable residents which had then resulted in those residents losing their homes due to incidents of anti-social behaviour. Members were assured that the Council had been working with housing associations in identifying and stopping such behaviour.

 

Members were informed that approximately 8-12 homeless people had occupied the High Street car park which had resulted in a number of complaints about anti-social behaviour, hygiene and intimidation. Short, medium and longer term approaches were discussed with the Panel, in particular, the Council’s intention to seek a legal injunction under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, which aimed to clear the car park and stop the anti-social behaviour in the Town Centre. The Panel was informed that while the injuction would exclude those named on it from certain areas in the Town Centre, the Council would ensure that they continued to have access to services they needed. It was also mentioned that the injunction would include positive steps, for example, the homeless must engage with Inclusion Services, the Housing Options Team, The Vine and other relevant services.  It was explained that a multi-agency approach had been taken to tackle the issues and meetings for joint-agency problem solving had also been arranged. A multi-agency Hub had also been set up; a two-day event held at the Princes Hall which would be attended by Health, Drug and Alcohol services, Adult Social Services, the Police, Housing Services and The Vine.

 

Medium term options for consideration included eight existing beds to be made available to the most challenging and vulnerable individuals in Rushmoor and Hart, out of hours community support for the vulnerable client group, continued multi-agency meetings and also an investigation into whether the Council needed a more robust method of outreach.

 

Longer term options for 2016-2021 were also discussed, for example, to continue the multi-agency meetings and joint working to ensure emerging issues would be rapidly  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Welfare Reform Task and Finish Group pdf icon PDF 286 KB

To note the minutes of the Group’s last meeting on 23rd June, 2015 (copy attached).

Minutes:

Members received a copy of the minutes from the Welfare Reform Task and Finish Group meeting that had taken place on 23rd June, 2015.

 

The Panel NOTED the minutes of the meeting.

11.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 208 KB

            To note the Community Policy and Review Panel’s work programme for 2015/16 (copy attached).

Minutes:

The Panel NOTED the work programme and work schedule.