Homelessness Review – Labour’s Response

Fareham Labour Party has submitted a response to Fareham Borough Council’s (FBC) Homelessness Review Consultation.

Commenting on the findings of the review Labour said “We believe that the report underestimates the true extent of homelessness in the Borough. We believe, for example, that many younger residents are transiting between sleeping rough and various temporary arrangements such as sofa-surfing.”

It is crucial that FBC strategy recognises the importance of early intervention to deal with the issue in the immediate hours and days after a resident finds themselves homeless as once someone or a household is homeless for a sustained period it is much more difficult to find solutions for the individual or family.

FBC states that in preventing homelessness strengthened mediation, working with other agencies strengthening planning and provide high quality tenancies.

While agreeing with these approaches Labour is concerned that when family relationships breakdown it may not be in the best interests of the young person that they are returned to the family home without early intervention to ensure they are protected from harm. We agree that it is important to focus interventions on those likely to be at risk of homelessness such as those leaving care or institutions. For people affected by reforms to welfare services stronger action is needed beyond the access to advice.

In providing solutions FBC says their target is to improve access to the private rented sector, improve the offer to private landlords, provide good quality temporary accommodation and ensure bed and breakfast is the last resort.

We agree that bed and breakfast should be the last resort. The importance of affordable social housing, whether directly FBC or through a housing association should be a priority with measures to ensure a supply of private rented sector properties at affordable rent and secure tenancy a less favourable option.

FBC states in meeting demand that the focus is on advice .information and staff capacity.

We believe this is inadequate, as it is all about information, advice is only useful if it leads to a positive outcome. For the strategy to be affective, it must focus on the availability of supply of appropriate accommodation – both immediately available and for the longer term along with the provision of support to people to enable a successful transition from homelessness to being housed.

FBC says ending rough sleeping should be by ensuring effective outreach services, explore creating additional emergency beds, continue to expand supported accommodation.

We agree with these objectives.

FBC’s delivery plan rests on monitoring internal systems. 

To help the council monitor the delivery plan we would urge FBC involve those agencies which provide accommodation for homeless people such as housing associations or organisations, for example Two Saints a local group.