Project Approval for the development of a Homeless Shelter and Assessment Hub at Floyd's Row
- Meeting of Housing and Homelessness Panel (Panel of the Scrutiny Committee), Monday 8 April 2019 6.00 pm (Item 191.)
To consider a report concerning proposals for a new homeless shelter and assessment hub at Floyd’s Row. This is due for consideration by the City Executive Board on 10 April.
The Panel considered a report to the City Executive Board on the proposed development of a Homeless Shelter and Assessment Hub at Floyd's Row. The Panel warmly welcomed the report and commended a number of aspects of the proposals, particularly the work undertaken to engage with homeless service users and involve them in the design of the facilities, and the fact that the continuous winter provision would be open to people with no local connection and those with no resource to public funds.
In discussion the Panel heard that the intention was to provide an adaptable space that could be adjusted over time to meet the changing profile and needs of service users. A lack of flexibility had been identified as being an issue at some other homelessness facilities. The provision of private rooms and separate spaces for women and vulnerable groups had been written into the brief, as had provision for dogs, accessibility and the secure storage of belongings. Safety was at the forefront and a range of safety measures would be in place such as secure entry, CCTV, panic alarms and a high staff to client ratio.
The Panel noted that there were lots of challenges associated with delivering this important project to a good standard in a very compressed timeframe, particularly as full funding was yet to be secured, as reflected in the length of the risk register. Planning consent would be required for external works including an extension of the lobby area and the installation of ramps, signage and lighting.
The Panel questioned whether the funding envelope was realistic and noted that revenue would need to be allocated to running the services in addition to capital funding. The Affordable Housing Lead provided assurance that suitable contingencies had been factored in and the Council was seeking to mitigate risks, while cautioning that this remained an evolving process. Failure to secure Government funding to make up the capital shortfall would significantly affect the sustainability of the scheme over the medium term and would result in difficult decisions being taken in regards to the use of the homelessness reserve (which was already due to be substantially drawn down over the coming 4 years). The Panel also heard that there may be opportunities within the scheme to draw on other external funding sources such as energy grants and local charitable funding.
The Panel considered how the Council could build on the positive engagement activities that had recently taken place involving service users at the Gatehouse and other homelessness projects in the city. This had included undertaking insight interviews, seeking views on drawings and photos of comparable spaces and reviewing outline layouts in an interactive way. It was possible and desirable to build an ongoing culture of participation at Floyds Row, notwithstanding the temporary nature of the services and the need for throughput and suitable move on options. This could be achieved by establishing the right contract with the service provider. The Panel suggested that the Council should look for opportunities to replicate the approach to service user participation and co-production in future projects.
The Panel agreed to formally endorse the recommendations in the report of the Head of Housing Services and to submit two additional recommendations to the City Executive Board on 10 April 2019:
1. That the Council continues to encourage the Government to provide funding to plug the capital shortfall while also exploring opportunities to draw on other local and national funding streams for specific purposes.
2. That the Council builds on the successful service user engagement activities that have taken place by:
a) Ensuring (through the contract with the service provider) that a culture of service user participation will be maintained at Floyd’s Row.
b) Taking a similar approach to service user participation and co-production in future projects.
- Floyds Row Report, item 191. PDF 190 KB View as HTML (191./1) 183 KB
- Appendix 1 - Risk Register, item 191. PDF 198 KB
- Appendix 2 - Equalities Impact, item 191. PDF 95 KB View as HTML (191./3) 18 KB