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Cambridge City Council's Response to Homelessness During Covid-19 - An Update on Progress and Next Steps

Meeting: 23/06/2020 - Housing Scrutiny Committee (Item 23)

23 Cambridge City Council's response to homelessness during Covid-19 - an update on progress and next steps pdf icon PDF 281 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This item was chaired by Councillor Todd-Jones

 

Matter for Decision

  i.  At the end of March 2020, and in line with lockdown measures introduced at the time, the Government asked local authorities to ensure that rough sleepers were provided with emergency accommodation to help reduce the risk of transmission of the Covid-19 virus. The City Council, along with partner organisations, working in the homelessness sector, and the County Council had worked in partnership tackle the significant logistical task of identifying those rough sleeping and at immediate risk and securing accommodation offers for all of them. The Government gave an initial financial commitment (see 8a of the Officer’s report) and an invitation to apply for further funding as required.

  ii.  The report updated members on progress to date, broadly outlines phase two of the council’s plan - to secure longer term housing options for those currently accommodated on a temporary basis – and explains how officers would manage the process. It explained why the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy, previously due for publication this month, had been delayed and will now be brought before Housing Scrutiny Committee in January 2021.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

  i.  Noted the progress the Council has made on rehousing rough sleepers during the Covid-19 pandemic and endorse the proposed principles for delivering the phase two action plan.

  ii.  Noted that a new Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy will be brought to Housing Scrutiny Committee in January 2021.

  iii.  Agreedthat a monthly update report on the progress of the Phase 2 action plan will be circulated to members of the Housing Scrutiny Committee for the critical time period between now and September.

 

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 Head of Housing.

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

  i.  Welcomed the report and thanked officers for their hard work in achieving the temporary housing of so many rough sleepers under difficult circumstances.

  ii.  Expressed concerns about the stress on staff and sought an assurance that staff were being fully supported.

  iii.  Sought assurances that those housed in hotels would not be evicted back onto the streets now that hotels are about to re-open.

 

The Head of Housing said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  Confirmed that staff would be attempting to assist all those temporarily housed. Most people had complied with support arrangements and had behaved in an acceptable way. However, assisting those whose behaviour was unacceptable, or criminal was more problematic.

  ii.  When the Police were involved an individual’s licence could be ended quickly. A multi-agency approach was used, including management of prison release.

  iii.  Housing and support had been set up very quickly and lessons would be learnt for the longer term.

  iv.  There were some concerns over the longer-term funding for this initiative.

  v.  Confirmed the individuals housed had a range of vulnerabilities, including one with a registered disability.

  vi.  The new pod housing was currently not in use but might be suitable for some of those in temporary housing.

 

Councillor Martinelli proposed and Councillor Porrer seconded an additional recommendation as follows:

A monthly update report on the progress of the Phase 2 action plan will be circulated to members of the Housing Scrutiny Committee for the critical time period between now and September.

The Committee supported the additional recommendation.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendations.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.

 

Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.