The purpose of the report by the Director of Housing, Neighbourhood and Building Services is to present the updated final homelessness strategy which outlines Portsmouth's preventative approach to understanding and responding to customers and residents who face homelessness.
RECOMMENDED that the Cabinet Member for Housing endorses the Council's Homelessness Strategy 2018-2023 and associated action plan.
The Cabinet Member for Housing endorsed the Council's Homelessness Strategy 2018-2023 and associated action plan.
Paul Fielding, Assistant Director Housing, introduced the report, explaining the requirement to have a Homelessness Strategy, and whilst a separate Rough Sleepers Strategy had been approved in 2018, the intention was to combine both strategies in 2020.
A deputation was given by Martin Silman (PDPLA) whose concerns included that the council's action had led to an increase in homelessness and that the strategy was dependent upon the goodwill of landlords but this goodwill was being lost. He also commented on the loss of available bedrooms in the city due to the minimum space standards and communal area requirements.
Clare Hardwick, Head of Private Rented Housing, responded that the space standards were a national requirement, and the space standards had been updated in 2018 to give clarity but there had not been a change to the 2013 standards. The officer inspections were required were there were 1 year licences which was explained to landlords.
Councillor Payter-Harris supported the report and asked if consideration had been given to the council purchasing Bed & Breakfasts to cut down the cost of B&B temporary accommodation? Councillor Sanders was interested in all options being examined.
Councillor Corkery also endorsed the report which showed the work of officers holding landlords to account. He raised the issue of the capacity of the Night Shelter, concerned that people were being turned away as they had not had a formal assessment. He was also worried that the temporary accommodation time limits were being breached.
Councillor Sanders was grateful to the input of his spokespersons and was pleased that the strategy had gone out to consultation. He had also raised questions regarding demand and capacity at the Night Shelter to ensure that rough sleepers have this option. He was also keen to tackle the level of reliance on B&B accommodation and commended work with the Police & Crime Commissioner and domestic violence survivors.
Councillor Sanders was pleased to agree this strategy and asked that officers prioritise the 15 proposed actions into short, medium and long term timeframes (pages 21 and 22 of the strategy document), and for this to be published.
DECISION: The Cabinet Member for Housing endorsed the Council's Homelessness Strategy 2018-2023 and associated action plan.