What we plan to do

Households have many different levels of need and there is no one solution that fits all housing need and so we seek to take advantage of every opportunity and provide a range of services to support households back to independence. To do this, our Housing Strategy 2015 priority to Improve Housing Support focusses on 5 strategic themes:

Homelessness Prevention

Although in recent months there has been a reduction in the number of homelessness prevention casework this is expected to change in the future as welfare reform measures come into effect.  We are looking to provide housing and support solutions for people that will not only tackle homelessness but also promote the health and wellbeing of households.  This will be achieved though providing integrated housing, employment and support solutions which will be a platform for economic inclusion.  We will be working jointly with partners in children’s services and adult social care and health to identify people who may potentially become homeless at a much earlier stage with a view to prevent their homelessness and also exploring the possibility of securing affordable settled accommodation in other locations around the country as an option for people who may prefer to move away from the city.  At the beginning of October 2015 the Council’s Housing Needs and Temporary Accommodation & Allocation services will be brought together under a three month pilot that will seek to provide a more streamline service to households in housing need.  The pilot will be reviewed early next year and a decision made on how to progress any changes to services.

Provision of effective Housing Related Support to help vulnerable households remain independent

We will be reviewing and remodelling the service commissioning across health, housing, care and other services to ensure there is a joined up approach to supporting the city’s most vulnerable people.  A comprehensive review will be completed across all the support services with the process identifying how people access support services, the level and type of support they receive, barriers to accessing services and outcomes. Services will be remodelled to ensure that the services are easily access to all vulnerable people, that the right level and type of support is provided to people and that they support the different client groups.  We will review and remodel the Integrated Support Pathway for homelessness so that it can deliver a more personalised service with better outcomes for service users. To support balanced and sustainable supported accommodation, referral panels will be established to promote choice and mixed communities

Supporting Older People to remain independent

Funding has been awarded from the Homes & Communities Agency to redevelop the former Brooke Mead sheltered housing scheme. The original scheme had 8 non self contained flats with shared facilities and was no longer fit for purpose. Brooke Mead will be a new 45 home Extra Care housing scheme for older people and those with dementia that meets HAPPI principles. Work will start in 2015 and be complete in 2017. We are seeking to continue the expansion of our Extra Care Housing and other supported housing where suitable opportunities arise.

In addition we will continue to remodel and renovate our sheltered schemes to ensure that they support the right people and improve social network and wellbeing.  Provide better links between sheltered housing schemes and surrounding communities and to other communities to encourage socialisation and reduce isolation.  We will continue to support people who want to ‘downsize’ to a more suitable home and for people who would like to remain in their home but need an adaptation, ensure this is completed in a timely fashion.

Supporting our Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) Communities

We will continue to work with the BME Need Assessment Steering Group to explore the findings of research and identify and resolve housing issues specific to BME communities.  We will continue improve the front facing customer services at Council housing offices to ensure that BME communities are appropriately supported and continue to work with community safety to resolve housing issues and harassment in a timely manner.  In addition we will be reviewing the equalities impact of the allocations of social housing and consider the positive contribution made by single parent families and improve our equalities monitoring across all our services

Supporting our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Trans* (LGBT) Communities

We will be carrying out more research in partnership with community groups to identify specific gaps and needs within the LGBT communities.  We will investigate potential impacts of ‘out of area’ placements for LGBT people in relation to local services and support networks, and support local LGBT agencies who are working with LGBT agencies in other areas where LGBT people are looking to move to Brighton to ensure this is done in a planned way.  In addition we will ensure that as services are reviewed that they are accessible and safe for all; examining the provision of LGBT specific housing support services in the city, working with sheltered housing providers to ensure that services are accessible for the LGBT communities and using the skills in LGBT community groups to deliver improvements to frontline housing services.  We will also be working jointly with community safety to resolve housing issues and harassment in a timely manner and will continue to implement Trans* Scrutiny Panel Recommendations for housing and consider the recommendations of the forthcoming Trans* Needs Assessment