Expansion of the Housing First Programme
- Meeting of Housing and Homelessness Panel (Panel of the Scrutiny Committee), Wednesday 2 August 2023 6.00 pm (Item 15.)
Cabinet, at its meeting on 09 August 2023, will consider a report from the Executive Director (Communities and People) on the Expansion of the Housing First Programme. Cllr Linda Smith, Cabinet Member for Housing, Nerys Parry, Head of Housing Services, Richard Wood, Housing Strategy and Needs Manager, Ossi Mosley, Rough Sleeping and Single Homelessness Manager and Brendan Lewis, Senior Rough Sleeping and Single Homelessness Project Officer have been invited to present the report and answer questions. The Committee is asked to consider the report and agree any recommendations.
Cllr Linda Smith, Cabinet Member for Housing introduced the report, highlighting that the Council implemented a Housing First programme in 2021/22 to help resolve homelessness of some of the most disadvantaged people in the community. She added that the Housing First programme represented a valuable contribution to long-term homelessness prevention both in the City and worldwide; and, in particular, reported that there had been no evictions or abandonments in respect of individuals supported by Housing First in Oxford.
Ossi Mosley, Rough Sleeping and Single Homelessness Manager added that the Expansion of Housing First in Oxford was a key element of the Council’s Housing, Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy; alongside the countywide Oxfordshire Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy, which sought to transform services across the county to end rough sleeping. She advised that there was a high level of need for Housing First provision within Oxford.
In response to questions, the Panel was advised that:
· The Council held a large range of data about individuals who had rough slept in Oxford over the past few years and there were a set of key criteria which helped to target the limited resource to those most in need, which initially had seen a focus on supporting women.
· Equalities had been considered as part of the initial bid for funding, as it formed part of the application process.
· The Council undertook a full Procurement process in respect of the external providers of wraparound support; the Senior Rough Sleeping and Single Homelessness Project Officer held bi-weekly meetings with both providers to monitor the support provision and help broker key relationships.
· The Council was confident that the two external providers were delivering the person-centred support that was needed and were working well together.
· Housing First properties were dispersed as evenly as possible across the City; mapping exercises were undertaken and efforts were made to ensure an even split across the different Tenancy Management patches.
· Officers would expand on the question about the impact of expanding the Housing First programme on other agencies involved in wraparound support and how they can support new individuals within the progress/outcomes report due to be presented to the Panel in October 2023.
· There were competing priorities in terms of availability of housing for different groups (e.g. Care Leavers) and demands for one-bedroom properties was particularly high; however the competing priorities were managed through the Allocations Policy and there was no additional impact as a result of Housing First.
· The Council could not address all of the current need through the programme, but it was a step in the right direction.
· The Oxfordshire Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy was working with Housing Associations across the county to develop a charter in terms of Housing First, which was receiving a lot of support.
· The two external service providers of wraparound support were keen to come and speak to the Panel at its October meeting.
The Panel agreed to recommend to Cabinet that:
1. The Council reviews the information contained within the risk register at Appendix 2 to the report to ensure accuracy.
Richard Wood, Housing Strategy and Needs Manager, Ossi Mosley, Rough Sleeping and Single Homelessness Manager and Brendan Lewis, Senior Rough Sleeping and Single Homelessness Project Officer left the meeting and did not return.
- Expansion of the Housing First Programme, item 15. PDF 338 KB View as DOCX (15./1) 178 KB
- Appendix 1 - Housing First Principles, item 15. PDF 183 KB
- Appendix 2 - Risk Register, item 15. PDF 88 KB