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Evaluation of the Direct Access Accommodation Service Dr Paul Monaghan Highland Homeless Trust Ltd. Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness.

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Presentation on theme: "Evaluation of the Direct Access Accommodation Service Dr Paul Monaghan Highland Homeless Trust Ltd. Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness."— Presentation transcript:

1 Evaluation of the Direct Access Accommodation Service Dr Paul Monaghan Highland Homeless Trust Ltd. Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

2 Our Achievement Helped an average of 8 individuals each night over a 6 month period to avoid roughsleeping Provided 1,456 bed spaces Provided 1,103 hot meals Average length of stay was 56 nights Longest stay was 178 nights Age range 21 – 67 years Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

3 Our Partnership Working 237 Volunteers Numerous Funders Presbytery of Inverness and the Inverness Churches Group (27 different churches) Blythswood Care Highland Homeless Trust Highland Council & the Inverness Common Good Fund Highlander Hostel Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

4 6 Principles of Action Never give up on the most vulnerable Focus on those most in need Help people off the streets Be realistic about what can be offered to those capable of helping themselves Tackle the root causes of rough sleeping Help people to become active members of the community (‘Coming in from the Cold’, 1999) Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

5 Who Typically Sleeps Rough? 75% over 25 years of age 90% male 25% - 33% lived in local authority care 50% alcohol problems 20% drug problems 30% - 50% experiencing a mental health problem Less than 5% from an ethnic minority background (‘Coming in from the Cold’ 1999, ‘Roughsleeping Ten Years On’ 2008) Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

6 Who Did We Help? 88% (75%) over 25 years of age 85% (90%) male N/A (25% - 33%) lived in local authority care 44% (50%) alcohol problems 4% (20%) drug problems 19% (30% - 50%) experiencing a mental health problem 75% (>5%) from an ethnic minority background Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

7 Ethnic Background 17 Polish 2 Latvian 1 Canadian 1 Nepalese 6 Scottish or other U.K. Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

8 Key Vulnerable Groups Those leaving prison Those leaving hospital Psychiatric placements Young people leaving care (‘More than a Roof’, 2002) Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

9 Reasons for Homelessness 14 Dependency Problems 5 Relationship Breakdown 4 Prison Release 3 Due to Unemployment 1 Eviction 4 Other Reasons Highlights Multiple Needs often compounded by language and communication problems Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

10 Previous Accommodation 7 Roughsleeping 5 Own Tenancy (Scottish or other U.K.) 4 Prison 4 Communal Accommodation 4 Family and Friends 2 Bed and Breakfast 1 Other (Scottish or other U.K.) Highlights Use of Insecure Housing and Recurring Homelessness Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

11 Period of Homelessness 13less than 1week (Scottish or other U.K.) 31 week to 1 month 11 month to 6 months 46 months to 1 year 21 year to 2 years 2more than 2 years 2 not known Highlights Acute Vulnerability of Service Users Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

12 Number of Nights in DAA 6 1 night (Scottish or other U.K.) nights nights nights nights nights nights nights Highlights Chronic Nature of Homelessness for DAA Service Users Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

13 What are the needs of those we helped? Experience of the DAA highlights: Multiple Needs of DAA Service Users Patterns of Insecurity and Recurring Homelessness Acute Vulnerability of DAA Service Users Chronic Nature of Homelessness among DAA Service Users Nobody else would have helped these people! Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

14 Recent Changes Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

15 Statutory Welfare Benefits Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness New rights for A8 nationals from 1 May 2011 No right to benefits if A2 national or ‘Person From Abroad’ Workers Registration Scheme terminated Habitual Residency Test – not defined in law but ‘Right to Reside’ if self-employed, economically active or actively searching and capable for work If not working, not searching for work, not classed as a permanent resident (resident for 5 years) or not demonstrably exercising their EC Treaty rights as a worker, jobseeker, student etc. individuals are unlikely to qualify for benefit entitlement

16 Statutory Welfare Benefits Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness Access provided to Job Seekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit etc. for ‘qualifying individuals’ Changes to Local Housing Allowance – now 30 th percentile Direct payments to tenants ‘Young individuals’ redefined as ‘up to 35 years’ ‘Young individuals’ entitled only to shared facilities rate of Local Housing Allowance, in May 2011 this was £65.00 per week, £ per month! Significant identified lack of affordable accommodation, i.e. single rooms with shared facilities

17 Homelessness Policy New emphasis on client responsibilities as well as rights that can / will lead to the withdrawal of emergency accommodation and loss of homeless status on behavioural grounds New processes and obligations to accept reasonable offers of settled housing, i.e. now 1 offer – previously 2 offers Housing services available to those who meet Habitual Residency Test No right to access housing services if A2 national or ‘Person From Abroad’ Priority Needs Test must be met to obtain emergency accommodation, e.g. dependent children, pregnancy, under 21 years, old, vulnerable etc. If not a defined priority, personal responsibility to meet immediate accommodation needs remains Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

18 New Rights – Same Old Problems? For most – not all – of those that used the DAA: Meeting Habitual Residency Test criteria will likely mean not meeting the Homelessness Policy Priority Needs Test, i.e. fit, able, single, working etc. If claiming a vulnerability to meet the Homelessness Policy Priority Needs Test, e.g. aged, chronic ill health, mental health problem, likely not to meet the Habitual Residency Test criteria, i.e. unable or unfit for work means not demonstrably exercising their EC Treaty rights as a worker, jobseeker, student etc., and not entitled to statutory welfare benefits In these cases most service users will remain obliged to meet their own accommodation needs. In the former case they may be in receipt of benefits and able to meet some costs. Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

19 The Scottish Government Targets for 2012: 1.No-one need sleep rough 2.Existing homelessness to be made more visible 3.Sustainable resettlement programmes for people who become homeless 4.Fewer people becoming homeless in the first place 5.The duration of homelessness to be reduced Focus on preventing homelessness (Sect 11) Focus on fighting poverty and inequality Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

20 Continuing Outstanding Needs Roughsleeping likely to continue among: A2 nationals and ‘Persons From Abroad’ Those not meeting Habitual Residency Test Those with No Local Connection Those unable to find affordable accommodation Those whose behaviour may exclude them from statutory service provision in the future Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

21 Resolving Homelessness - What doesn’t work Believing that simply putting a roof over someone’s head will solve their homelessness problem Not recognising that homelessness and roughsleeping are caused by an interplay of economic, housing, family, individual and other problems Allowing “crisis” roughsleeping to become entrenched Agencies / organisations operating in isolation “Solutions” that don’t provide individuals with the learning or the tools they need to tackle their own problems Giving handouts! (South Lanarkshire ‘Rough Sleeper Initiative’ 2001, ‘More than a Roof’ 2003, ‘Getting Connected’ 2006, ‘Norwich Reconnection Policy’ 2008) Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

22 Resolving Homelessness - What Works? Rapid and comprehensive intervention: Address immediate short-term accommodation needs Provide assistance and support to access and sustain longer- term accommodation that is affordable Enable individuals to re-establish themselves in the area where they are most familiar and have social ties Inter-agency collaboration or local partnership working Implementation of Support Pathways and Change Programmes - helping homeless help themselves Tiered approaches – services appropriate to need Establish “stepping stones” to enable incremental recovery (South Lanarkshire ‘Rough Sleeper Initiative’ 2001, ‘More than a Roof’ 2003, ‘Getting Connected’ 2006, ‘Norwich Reconnection Policy’ 2008, ‘Roughsleeping Ten Years On’ 2008) Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

23 Making a Difference There is a need for creative housing “solutions” that avoid treating only the symptoms of roughsleeping There is a need to recognise that roughsleeping is often the result of a serious problem in the individual’s life We have to tackle the practical problems people experience if we want to address roughsleeping and resolve homelessness We should aim to: 1.Minimise the occurrence of homelessness 2.Minimise repeat homelessness 3.Ensure people have the skills, or the necessary support, to maintain a home Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

24 Making a Difference We can help the minority of very vulnerable people by: Providing Direct Access Services for those without rights or who have been excluded from mainstream service provision Working in partnership with local statutory provision to allow re-engagement – “a leg up” Working to help avoid and resolve points of crises Working to meet the social, health and learning needs of vulnerable people Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness

25 Thank you very much Highland Homeless Trust Challenging Homelessness


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