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Apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors David Nevett, Duncan Anderson, Iris Beech, Eva Hughes and Kenneth Keegan
To consider the extent, if any, to which the public and press are to be excluded from the meeting.
There were no items on the agenda that contained exempt information.
Declarations of Interest, if any.
There were no declarations of interest made.
The minutes of the meeting held on the 15th October 2018 were agreed as a true record.
Public Statements - [A period not exceeding 20 minutes for statements from up to 5 members of the public on matters within the Committees remit, proposing action(s) which may be considered or contribute towards the future development of the Committees Work Programme].
There were no public statements made.
A report was presented with an update on homelessness following the Panels own scrutiny review held between November 2016 and January 2017.
It was explained that there had been significant changes to legislation, which had been introduced through the Homeless Reduction Act and had fundamentally changed the responsibilities for Local Authorities.
The following areas that had changed were highlighted as follows;
· Duty To Provide Advisory Services – Requires free homelessness advice and information services to be provided to all residents and to provide advice designed with certain vulnerable groups in mind.
Members were assured that SLHD were already providing advice to presenting individuals.
· Change of Timings Associated of ‘Threatened With Homelessness’ - Extends the period during which someone might be threatened with homelessness from 28 days to 56 days.
It was explained that the idea behind this was that individuals and households were able to be processed more quickly with more time to support them and prevent the threat of homelessness if possible.
· Prevention Duty – It was explained that this was a new legal statutory duty placed on the local authority to prevent homelessness.
· Assessments and Personalised Housing Plans (PHP) – It was outlined that this was about Local Housing Authorities carrying out an assessment of the circumstances and needs of all eligible applicants who were homeless or threatened with becoming homeless within 56 days. It was explained that each individual required a PHP, which outlined what ‘reasonable steps’ the authority and the applicant needed to take (as agreed with the individual).
· Duty to Refer – Members were informed that under the act, from 1st October 2018, public bodies in England had a duty to refer an individual’s case (with consent) to the local housing authority if they were threatened with homelessness.
It was explained that it was about creating a culture around early intervention and prevention. It was added that further to the changes in legislation, the context of homelessness locally had changed, in particularly with the most complex individuals. It was explained that there was a new partnership approach through the Complex Lives Alliance to support those sleeping rough in Doncaster. It was reported that to date this had worked successfully.
An outline of the structure of the Complex Lives Team was provided to the Panel. It was explained that the Complex Lives Alliance had created the capacity to enable the management of more complex cases providing an important resource. It was further added that in the last six months the team had become more integrated through;
· Co-location with Complex Live team of SLHD Homelessness Single Point of Access
· CCG specialist Mental Health nurse (from the 1st April).
· DMBC Housing Benefits Officer seconded to team.
· NACRO worker seconded to team
It was commented that the team had become more effective through bringing a range of more specialist functions to work alongside them, for example, permanent and part-time positions.
It was reported that in the height of summer 2018, there had been 65-67 individuals sleeping rough in ... view the full minutes text for item 13.
A presentation was provided to the Panel on the headline findings from the Housing Needs Survey. This included the breakdown of the overall housing target (920 homes per year) by size, type and tenure and on an area by area basis. It was explained that the findings of the Housing Needs Study would be used to inform policy decisions on how the Council and its partners would respond to the boroughs housing need.
The presentation provided headlines under the following areas;
· House Prices
· Tenure Options – Cost/Income Required
· Household Moves
· Household Incomes
· Stock Profile
· Stock Condition
· Housing Needs - Dwelling Mix
· Affordable Housing Needs
· Older People’s Housing
In terms of Older People Housing, it was noted that 8 out of 10 older people were wanting to remain in their own home (with appropriate support when needed). Members were informed that type of housing formed 17% of the housing target (of which included residential care at 6%). It was commented that there was a need to invest public money or facilitate the provision of those services so older people would be able to live in their houses for longer.
A Member of the Panel commented that more affordable properties were needed within their ward. It was commented that it was always about viability from a planning perspective. Concern was also raised that unaffordability could be linked to the job market.
Members were informed that the report would be completed soon before being shared with other departments to help inform Council proposals and decisions. It was confirmed that there would be an Executive Summary and that the key points of the report would be circulated wider in an appropriate format.
Clarification was sought on the distribution of housing and how areas of the borough were made aware of what was being developed. It was explained that when land was put forward to be considered for housing, it was assessed for sustainability and looked at as part of the overall housing required (and broken down by proportions in that area).
RESOLVED that the Panel;
That an update be provided as part of the Workplan 2019/20 to look at the whole document or focus on certain areas. (with an invite to planning and Director of Regeneration and Housing).
The Panel received a report, which provided a high level update on the process and current position on the development of the Council’s future affordable housing delivery programme to meet unmet housing needs across the Borough.
It was explained that there was a need for more affordable homes articulated through the Doncaster Housing Strategy 2015-2025. This would be considered from information provided from a range of sources to inform the future programme including the Housing Needs Survey as well as other sources.
It was explained that the ongoing existing programme formalises that since 2013/14, 991 units of affordable homes would have been delivered.
It was continued that the delivery programme would aim to meet the varied housing need and through the Doncaster Growing Together programme. It had also been recognised that accommodation was not presently being met for certain groups that included;
It was reported that land within the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) would be prioritised for affordable housing, although, the future programme may also incorporate General Fund land following land and assets reviews. It was commented that in terms of resouces there was not the right amount of housing land or enough of it in the right place and that factors moving forward potential may include;
It was added that there was a limitation on what could be achieved until more detail was made available when a programme had been worked up over forthcoming months.
Clarification was sought as to whether there was budget for homes that needed adaptions. Members were informed that this was already undertaken for new builds, for example, Bristol Grove. It was outlined that new properties would come out of what those needs were identified as and could start to incorporate accessible homes within the programme .
Reference was made to the principals of lifetime homes and the Panel were informed that efforts were being made to minimise the costs of future changes. For example, level access (for wheelchair access) and ramps might not be placed in every property but steps would be taken to make future adaptations easier. It was reported that there had been successful bids for external funding.
It was recognised that the Housing Needs Study would provide important information that would inform policy and decisions. It was also recognised that nationally there was an ageing population. Members were reassured that where gaps were identified steps would be taken to identify to enable a more appropriate delivery. Reference was made to the Capital Programme Build Programme and was noted that at some point the Council may consider bringing back more empty properties back into use.
RESOLVED that the Panel note the report.
The Panel received a report updating Members on the Panels work plan for 2018/19.
A copy of the work plan was attached at Appendix A of the report taking account of issues considered at the Regeneration and Housing Overview and Scrutiny workplanning meeting held on the 13th June, 2018.
There was a brief discussion around the Forward Plan.
RESOLVED that the Panel note the Regeneration and Housing Overview and Scrutiny Workplan 18/19 - October 2018 update.