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Housing & Homelessness Update Simon Bain Group Manager, Homelessness & Housing Allocations 12 th December 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Housing & Homelessness Update Simon Bain Group Manager, Homelessness & Housing Allocations 12 th December 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Housing & Homelessness Update Simon Bain Group Manager, Homelessness & Housing Allocations 12 th December 2013

2 Aims for today Highlight what’s been happening in Who does what in the homeless team. Current and future challenges.

3 Highlights 2013 January – review and reconfiguration of housing service, including homelessness (homeless prevention, housing options and advice). March – revised MC Housing Allocations Policy. August – Common Housing Register with Melville HA goes live. August – new tenancy support provider (Places for People).

4 Legal framework The Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, part 2. – Responsibility to anyone threatened with or experiencing homelessness. LA must offer a minimum of temporary accommodation, advice and assistance to all homeless households and those at risk of homelessness. Abolition of priority need test by December – All those assessed as unintentionally homeless are entitled to settled accommodation as a legal right. Achieved June Statutory housing support duty - June – LA’s must assess the housing support needs of homeless applicants to whom they have a duty to secure settled accommodation to enable vulnerable people to maintain their tenancies, avoid repeat homelessness, and live independently.

5 Policy & practice framework Code of Guidance on Homelessness (2005). – Provides practical guidance to LA’s and other organisations working in partnership on how the legislation and related policies should be implemented. Scottish Government homelessness guidance for the Best Interests of Children (2010). Scottish Government guidance preventing homelessness (2009).

6 Housing options and advice Strong focus for Scottish Government and central to MC approach. Process which starts with housing advice when someone approaches with a housing problem. This means looking at an individuals options and choices in the widest sense. This approach features early intervention and explores all possible tenure options. Advice can also cover personal circumstances which may not necessarily be housing related, such as debt advice, mediation and mental health issues. Rather than only accepting a homelessness application homelessness services work together with other services to assist the individual with issues from an early stage in the hope of avoiding a housing crisis.

7 Homelessness Team Prevention – 3 x Homeless Prevention Officers - Helen Weekes, Nicola Thomson and Liam McCallum (Housing Options Officer). Assessment / case work - 4 x Homelessness Officers – Matthew McGlone, Sharon Carstairs, Nicola Thomson, Alan Baxter and Ben Bradshaw (Mental Health Officer). Accommodation – 3 x Accommodation Officers - Jason Bell, Christine Wilson and Lynne Pendreigh. Benefits advice - Caroline Haigh – Benefits Officer. Administrator – Ross O’Malley. Team Leader – Alex Marks.

8 Contact information Office - Buccleuch House, 1 White Hart Street, Dalkeith. Duty system – 9am pm and pm Mon, Tues, Thurs. Wed 10am start and Fri to 3.30pm. Office hours - (0131) Emergency - (0131) Happy to meet with you and / or you come speak to us.

9 Demand for Council and Housing Association properties extremely high. – 3,850 active housing applicants on CHR (Nov 2013). – 1,000 homeless (55% single household asked to leave, 18% domestic violence). – 2,100 needs. – 750 choice. Housing supply does not meet this demand – approx 700 Council and HA properties let per year - housing stock of 9,000 properties (mainly 2 beds). Majority of housing applicants waiting 3-4 years. Dalkeith, Mayfield, Gorebridge, Bonnyrigg/Poltonhall areas of highest availability. Ave. monthly rent – 1 bed (£240), 2 bed (£268), 3 bed (£288) and 4 bed (£308). Affordable renting in Midlothian

10 Apply to Council and Melville HA Common Housing Register by completing 1 form. Apply to other Housing Associations directly. To ensure those in greatest need are prioritised, MC and Melville HA has a group and points housing allocation system is in place. – 45% of lets to homeless applicants (this group includes HM Forces), 40% of lets to general needs applicants and 15% of lets to choice applicants. Applicants only offered size of property their household needs. plying_for_a_council_house_in_midlothian plying_for_a_council_house_in_midlothian Affordable renting – Council and Housing Associations

11 Challenges Impact of welfare reform – Limited affordable housing options for year olds and single person households. Lack of 1 bedroom social rented housing supply. – More people with a combination of financial difficulties / debt / unemployment (sanctions). – Future impact on homeless temporary accommodation (UC). Increased demand for homeless and housing advice services, but marked reduction in homeless assessments since Jan Housing applicants waiting longer for social rented accommodation. Reduction in LA finances.

12 Simon Bain Group Manager, Homelessness & Housing Allocations

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