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Update on Homelessness and Strategic Measures to Tackle Homelessness

Meeting: 21/06/2016 - Housing Scrutiny Committee (Item 28)

28 Homelessness and Strategic Approach to Homelessness in Cambridge City pdf icon PDF 185 KB

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This item was chaired by Councillor Todd-Jones


Councillor Bick addressed the Committee as a Ward Councillor and made the following points:


     i.        The Motion considered at the April Council meeting was seeking measures to alleviate the problem of rough sleepers.

    ii.        This was on the increase.

   iii.         Members had nothing but admiration for those working with rough sleepers.

  iv.        Expressed disappointment that the action plan spanned two years when action was needed now.

   v.        Rough sleepers present different needs to other homeless individuals.

  vi.        It was not just about the lack of a home but included many other issues.

 vii.        They were not a subset of the wider homelessness population and needed different solutions.

viii.        Visible increase was unsettling to the wider population.

  ix.        Wider population were not unsympathetic or uncaring and concerns about specific individuals were widespread.

   x.        However, fears were also on the increase.

  xi.        Residents reported a desire for more action to be taken to resolve the problem.


Matter for Decision

The report outlined the extent of homelessness pressure in Cambridge, set within a national context of rising numbers of homeless households. The report distinguished between households where the council has a statutory duty under part 7 of the 1996 Housing Act (as amended) and those households to whom the council has no duty. Despite the distinction, the Council commits considerable resources into tackling and preventing homelessness for all of those unfortunate enough to be affected by it.


The report also reflected on the Council’s recent performance in attempting to address homelessness in Cambridge and provided Members with a summary of strategic measures that had been employed or had been identified to tackle the issue.


Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

     i.        Noted the information on homelessness pressure and service performance as outlined in this report

    ii.        Approved the homelessness strategy action plan as detailed at appendix 1 of the Officer’s report.


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.


Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.


Scrutiny Considerations


The Committee received a report from the Housing Advice Service Manager.


The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

     i.        Street dwellers were a community and were fearful about moving into secure accommodation which would leave them isolated from that community.

    ii.        Discussion of points raised in the response to benefit changes and the impact on under 35 year olds.


The Housing Advice Service Manager said the following in response to Members’ questions:

     i.        One of the key issues for street homeless in Cambridge was finding a way for them to access housing when they had no recourse to public funding.

    ii.        The street outreach team endeavoured to take immediate action and would develop individualised action plans.

   iii.        There were twelve known rough sleepers who had no recourse to public funding.

  iv.        Action plan dates were completion dates and were realistic.

   v.        Tenancy sustainment support was offered to rough sleepers moving into secure accommodation.

  vi.        Confirmed that the situation was constantly changing and needed continuous review.


The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendations.


The Executive Councillor approved the recommendation.