Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
(1) Cabinet noted the provision in place prior to the COVID-19 crisis
(2) Cabinet commended the remarkable efforts of the local authority and partners to meet the call from government to provide safe and secure accommodation for rough sleepers and thank the wide range of public services, the voluntary sector, the local communities, members, officers and the Accor Hotel group & the local hotel management team in continuing to support the emergency provision in place
(3) Cabinet noted the learning to be used to underpin the solutions moving forward
(4) Cabinet noted the emergent MHCLG funding announcements for the interim and long term plan and the work with the MHCLG to co-produce the interim and long-term plan.
(5) Cabinet approved the interim plan subject to funding being made available, to last up to 12 months from the end of August 2020 and which includes these elements:
i. Use Private Rented Accommodation and purchased/sub-leased property at Local Housing Allowance rents for those who need only financial support
ii. Use HMOs through the HMO housing organisation for suitable for a private rental tenancy provided floating support is available.
iii. Use a hotel or accommodation block for those who need intensive onsite support that can best be provided in such a setting alongside security.
iv. Use no more than 18 spaces between Kingston Point and Hope House as the final accommodation option for those not in the above categories. This will be accompanied by intensive support, boundaries and ways to deal with antisocial behaviour.
(6) Cabinet noted the resourcing commitment to implement the interim plan and endorse that the Assistant Director of Housing is asked temporarily to focus on the delivery of the plans, alongside the cross-party and multi-agency Portsmouth City Rough Sleeping Partnership Group ("The Partnership Group") to implement the plans.
(7) Cabinet recognised that the potential cost of the interim plan is circa. £2.5m and that the Council are working with MHCLG to prepare a bid to the national fund made available for this purpose amounting to £105m, in the event that there remains a shortfall between estimated costs and funding identified, a further report will be prepared for Cabinet to consider prior to entering into any additional financial commitment .
(8) Cabinet therefore delegated authority to the Assistant Director of Housing, working with the S151 Officer, to submit a bid for the funding to support emergency, interim and long-term accommodation through the mechanism identified in the letter from MHCLG on 24th June 2020 (Appendix 3).
(9) Cabinet agreed the following as principles for the long-term plan:
i. All those in the interim accommodation to be supported to find move on accommodation and given the opportunity not to return to rough sleeping.
ii. Accommodation first, not accommodation only approach, with support levels tailored to individuals.
iii. Developing the accommodation and support model to provide learning and work opportunities.
iv. A range of accommodation and support ideally located in Portsmouth, based on Government's desire to build, buy and rent homes.
v. A financially sustainable model.
vi. An approach that provides accommodation and support into sustainable housing but also supports the prevention of homelessness and those who remain on the streets.
vii. Evidenced based using all the learning and data available to create solutions.
(10) Cabinet agreed to ask Government to help it overcome key barriers that may impact on the long term plan, including:
i. Automatically paying Universal Credit to landlords taking part
ii. Making sure payments cover the full cost of rent or Local Housing Allowance, whichever is higher
iii. Suspend the rule that means under-35s claim at a single room rate
iv. Work with the City Council to devise plans to help future rough sleepers and to prevent homelessness
v. Assist in helping the city house those on the waiting list and the homeless the City Council has statutory duties towards.
(11) Cabinet requesed the Portsmouth City Rough Sleeping Partnership Group to develop the long term plan, based on these principles, as outlined in the report.
(12) Cabinet approved that this report forms the basis of the jointly produced plan with MHCLG for exiting the current approach both in the interim and long-term.
Report author: Paul Fielding
Publication date: 15/07/2020
Date of decision: 14/07/2020
Decided at meeting: 14/07/2020 - Cabinet