Agenda and minutes
Venue: Muriel Matters House, Breeds Place, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 3UY
Contact: Coral Harding on 01424 451764 email firstname.lastname@example.org
Items No. Item
Apologies for Absence
Declaration of Interests
Personal- volunteer for snowflake
Personal - Hastings Housing company director
RESOLVED – that the minutes of the meeting held on 4th March 2019 be approved as a true record.
RESOLVED under rule 13.3 of the council’s constitution, the recommendations set out in minute number 171 were agreed without being called for discussion.
Andrew Palmer, Assistant Director, Housing and Built Environment presented a report to advise Cabinet on trends in rough sleeping locally and update on the work of the council and its partners to address this issue.
Michael Courts, Strategic Housing and Projects Manager gave an update to the councillors around the rough sleeping in Hastings. He spoke about the range of activities that the council are undertaking to reduce the number of rough sleepers in the borough. The council is increasingly reliant on external funding to meet the increase in demand for homelessness services. Often the nature of the funding is that it is short term and has to be competitively bid for. This is resource intensive and can prevent effective long term planning. The Rough Sleeping Initiative is a joint project between Hastings and Eastbourne Councils and contains a multi-disciplinary team of health, mental health, social care, substance misuse and housing professionals working collaboratively to develop holistic support plans for each individual. It has been operating for 6 months so far and has been very successful. There is a new project the rapid rehousing pathway, the project is based on a supported lettings model, creating a dedicated team of support officers working with rough sleepers with low to medium level support needs and people at a high risk of rough sleeping to access and sustain accommodation.
Councillors discussed the service and gave thanks to the officers for all their hard work on this. They discussed how the home works service has been re-invigorated and how it tries to prevent people at risk from becoming rough sleepers. The funding is short term and officers are working hard daily to provide these services even though the projects future is uncertain with the nature of the funding. If these services were to be removed then there would be a crisis, and it is a service that takes time and trust.
Councillors asked questions around the supply of units for housing first and were told that working in partnership with Optivo, the largest landlords locally, they have created a memorandum with them that has flagged several units that will let the council know when they are vacant. The Council would hope to build on this in future and encourage other major landlords to participate in the scheme. Councillors spoke on how rough sleeping is a national problem and not just local, and that seaside towns in particular have seen an increase in rough sleeping. Many rough sleepers do not have a strong connection with the local area but come here because they have fond memories of childhood or other visits in happier periods of their life.
Officers explained that revised legislation covering single homelessness households had widened the Councils responsibilities and resulted in many more people being accommodated temporarily and for longer periods. Councillors discussed the problems in finding accommodation how some landlords will not accept guarantors. This might impact upon the council’s ability to help rough sleepers find more permanent accommodation. It was ... view the full minutes text for item 170.
- Museum Update Report , item 171. PDF 154 KB
- HMAG Exhibition Strategy , item 171. PDF 178 KB
- HMAG Learning Policy , item 171. PDF 125 KB
- HMAG Volunteer Policy , item 171. PDF 127 KB
- Collections Report , item 171. PDF 144 KB
- There are a further 5 documents.View the full list of documents for item 171.
Under rule 13.3, the recommendations of the report were agreed without being called for discussion.
Urgent Items (if any)
Andrew Palmer, Assistant Director, Housing and Built Environment presented a report to update Cabinet on progress in acquiring temporary accommodation units, using the capital budget set aside in October 2018. To seek delegated authority from Cabinet to mobilise the Accessing the Private Rented Sector, Flexible Homelessness Support Grant top-up and Homelessness Prevention Grant top up a project funded by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local
Andrew Palmer, Assistant Director, Housing and Built Environment spoke on the report to the councillors. The private rented sector has become more expensive and supply of accommodation in the social sector is increasingly limited. As a more households were being placed in temporary housing by the council and for longer periods, consequently costs had risen. Accommodating larger families in in B&B’s is was particularly challenging and expensive. The council was taking a number of measures to relieve the pressure including directly purchasing housing specifically to meet this demand.
Michael Courts, Strategic Housing and Projects Manager added that the council has also secured more funding for a team of tenancy sustainment officers. This will help with people who are accessing mainstream housing services having a poor tenancy sustainment history. A key element of this project is accessing the private rented sector and improving access to accommodation as well as managing the temporary accommodation the council already owns more effectively.
Councillors agreed the importance of acquiring more homes for this purpose as it would save the council money as well as helping people to get their lives back on track. It is important to move people out of Temporary accommodation and into permanent accommodation. Councillors also asked if people were having difficulty find accommodation because landlords are selling their properties or just because there are fewer properties on the market.
Mr Palmer advised that there was a regular turnover of private stock as owners bought and sold portfolios Section 21 notices were a common reason for loss of accommodation; although not the only reason
Officers explained that the landlord guarantee scheme was being introduced to help people access private rented sector accommodation
Councillors raised the issue of some landlords refusing to accept guarantors and whether this would affect the council’s efforts in finding people accommodation. They were told that the council has indications from some letting agencies that that they would be prepared to accept guarantees offered by the Council. Councillors discussed how the council is looking at wrap-around schemes to support beyond the guarantor and make landlords more willing to take on the risk of renting to these people. Councillors discussed how serviced accommodations (such as air B&B) are affecting the market and asked if the council had any figures around this. It was agreed that officers would take this away and further consider the matter...
Councillor Batsford proposed approval of the recommendations of the Assistant Director’s report. This was seconded by Councillor Lee.
RESOLVED (Unanimous) that:
1. For Cabinet to acknowledge progress in acquiring temporary accommodation
2. For Cabinet to authorise expenditure ... view the full minutes text for item 173a
Commercial Property Purchases
- View the reasons why item 173b is restricted
- View the background to item 173b
- View the decision for item 173b
RESOLVED that the public be excluded from the meeting during the, consideration of the items of business listed below because it is likely that if members of the public were present there would be disclosure to them of “exempt” information as defined in the paragraphs of schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 referred to in the relevant report.
Peter Grace Assistant Director Financial Services and Revenues presented a report to consider the potential purchase of a commercial property
Reasons for Recommendations:
The site presents significant employment opportunities within Hastings and St Leonards and likewise a significant Business Rate income. Whilst there may be opportunities to redevelop the site in future years the need to retain the site for employment space is a priority, as is the need to retain Business Rate income. There may also be the opportunity to modernise and develop some of the building in the medium term providing the Council with the opportunity to drive greater economic regeneration.
Councillors did not propose the recommendations of the report