Agenda item - Support needs of people in Kendal Court

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Agenda item

Support needs of people in Kendal Court

Report of Executive Director for Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing (copy attached).

Decision:

(1)            That the Committee notes the contents of the report.

 

(2)            That the independent survey report, along with any interim recommendations to improve support for people living in Kendal Court, is provided for consideration of the January meeting of Housing and New Homes Committee.

 

(3)  That the report to January meeting of Housing and New Homes Committee explores options (including any cost implications) for the provision of travel cards, to enable residents living in emergency accommodation out of the city to more easily connect with services, friends and family.

 

 

 

Minutes:

40.1   The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director, Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing which had been written in response to a Notice of Motion which had been submitted to the Committee on 19th September 2018 requesting information about the support for people in Kendal Court. It had not been possible to provide all of the information requested in the report in the timescale and as a result the current report contained the information officers had been able to collate. It was proposed that a more comprehensive report would be provided. The report was presented by the Head of Housing Needs accompanied by the Housing Options Manager.

 

40.2   Councillor Moonan stated that it was a sobering report about a very vulnerable group of clients. She expressed regret and concern for the families involved in these deaths and undertook that the council would look closely at the issue over a period of time. A great deal of work had already been carried out around those most vulnerable clients who were in emergency or temporary accommodation. However there was another level of people who did not reach that threshold who still had a lot of vulnerability. That was possibly the group being discussed in the report.  

 

40.3   Councillor Moonan welcomed the proposal to bring some more support around emergency and temporary accommodation, across all the stock in the city and out of the city. The future report needed to look at working with residents, helping residents to be aware of what local services were in the area, helping them to access health appointments and engage with services. Building on that was looking at the residents’ experience, for example providing a good customer experience through the Housing Options Service. That might be by using volunteers to help people through that process. The Temporary Accommodation Action Group had already carried out a great deal of work with voluntary sector partners and they would play a vital part in bringing forward proposals. 

 

40.4   Councillor Bell thanked officers for the report. He raised questions regarding:

 

·       Paragraph 3.6.1. The ages of the people who died and how long they had lived at Kendal Court was requested.

·       Paragraph 3.7.4 regarding budget savings to the Supporting People Commissioning Team. When was this service and function cut?

·       Paragraph 3.8.7. People who had been banned from emergency accommodation within the city still needed care. What was being done for these people for whom the council had a duty of care?

·       Paragraph 3.9.2 relating to the caretaker role. Perhaps some sort of support should be provided at the accommodation.

·       Paragraph 3.10.1. When were Healthwatch commissioned to undertake the survey and when results of that survey would be seen.

·       Paragraph 7.1 – Financial Implications. The Government had announced that a further £2m would be provided to the council. Could some of this money be used to put in places where there were vulnerable people. This also highlighted that there needed to be a separate Adult Social Care Committee.

 

40.5              The Executive Director replied that the ages of the people who died and length of time they had stayed at Kendal Court could be provided. It was stressed that since the independent review was commissioned after the last Housing & New Homes Committee, it had not been possible for Healthwatch to engage with many people, although work had started on the review straight away. That was why there was an interim report.  Meanwhile, many people in temporary accommodation did not meet the threshold for Adult Social Care funding; However, if the council could give people good quality support early on as a preventative measure this could stop deterioration. Therefore the proposals that would be brought back to committee would not be using adult social care funding but using funding as a prevention. The report would also recommend working with the residents of Kendal Court and elsewhere to seek their views on the support they required. 

 

40.6   The Head of Housing Needs explained that the Housing Support Services was cut in December 2015. Banned people were placed in other accommodation if they were asked to leave due to their mental health problems.  One person in Kendal Court had been banned and officers were limited in where to place them. Support for such people could help as officers did not want them to be banned but to be able to stay and remain stable and then move on. The questions about the caretaker and support were covered by the Chair in her communications. A report would be presented to the committee about the support that could be provided to clients.

 

40.7   Councillor Mears stressed that responsibility for homelessness had been diluted across the council with the involvement of the Housing & New Homes Committee, Health & Wellbeing Board and Neighbourhoods, Communities & Equalities Committee. She expressed concern that the Supporting People budget was no longer ring fenced and expressed concern that there was no longer an Adult Social Care Committee. Councillor Mears stressed that Brighton & Hove had more support services than anywhere else on the south coast. She requested a joined up briefing report for members providing the impact and outcomes of all the organisations working in the city. Councillor Mears noted that St Mungos were not mention in the report and she requested information on outcomes for that organisation.

 

40.8   The Head of Housing Needs suggested that the scope of the report to the January meeting should be widened to include the requested information.

 

40.9   Councillor Wealls referred to page 48 of the agenda which stated that there was a significant drug dealing issue at Kendal Court, leading to incidences of relapse as a consequence. If the Healthwatch survey stated that residents did not want there to be a significant drug dealing issue what would be done about it and if they did not come back on this issue would the council do nothing about it?  Officers explained that it was necessary to look at how people were managed and supported so that there would not be drug dealing. Some of these problems could be ameliorated if more support was provided. The council would also be working with the police on the issue to prevent any drug dealing. The most important thing was to manage the residents and ensure a safe environment. That was done through a mixture of enforcement and support.

 

40.10  Councillor Atkinson thanked officers for the report. He considered the Equalities Impact Assessment to be excellent.

 

40.11  Councillor Gibson referred to the report being presented to the Committee in January.  Would this include the recommendations of the independent Heathwatch survey?  The Executive Director explained that the recommendations from the Healthwatch survey would be included but this would potentially be a position statement by Healthwatch because the process of engaging with people would not end. 

 

40.12  In answer to a question by Councillor Gibson, The Head of Housing Needs stated that around 13 people had so far been contacted by Healthwatch.

 

40.13  Councillor Gibson thanked officers for the report and presented his amendment. The amendment was stating that the independent review needed to be made available as quickly as possible. It could not wait until June. He agreed that it would be interesting to know more about individuals who had been banned from accommodation in the city. The amendment was seconded by Councillor Sykes and was set out as follows:

 

         To add recommendations 2.2 and 2.3 as shown below in bold italics

 

2.2 That the independent survey report, along with any interim recommendations to improve support for people living in Kendal Court, is provided for consideration of the January meeting of Housing and New Homes Committee


2.3 That the report to January meeting of Housing and New Homes Committee explores options (including any cost implications) for the provision of travel cards, to enable residents to more easily connect with services, friends and family”

 

40.14  Councillor Mears stated that January was the appropriate time to have a report as there would be elections in May. She queried amendment 2.3 above. If the reference to travel cards was only referring to people in Kendal Court, Councillor Mears would not support the amendment. There were also people housed in accommodation in other towns such as Eastbourne. The amendment needed to be changed to reflect these out of area clients.  Councillor Gibson confirmed that he was referring to all out of area clients.

 

40.15  At this point the Committee had a five minute recess to reword the amendment. 

 

40.16  When the committee reconvened the amended amendment was read out as follows:

 

           To add recommendations 2.2 and 2.3 as shown below in bold italics

 

2.2 That the independent survey report, along with any interim recommendations to improve support for people living in Kendal Court, is provided for consideration of the January meeting of Housing and New Homes Committee


2.3 That the report to January meeting of Housing and New Homes Committee explores options (including any cost implications) for the provision of travel cards, to enable residents living in emergency accommodation out of the city to more easily connect with services, friends and family”

 

40.17  Councillor Moonan considered that an issue should be taken to the Constitutional Working Group regarding a democratic deficit for people the council were placing out of the city. If people were placed out of the city to whom would people seek democratic advice? Could the Constitutional Working Group consider that issue? The Executive Director explained that clients living in emergency accommodation outside the city had two options. They could visit their local ward councillor in the town they were living in or approach any member of the Housing & New Homes Committee.  Councillor Moonan suggested that this information should be publicised. The Chair agreed that this should be raised at the Constitutional Working Group. 

 

40.18  The Chair referred to page 17 of the report in relation to the Southdown Housing support worker. This post was funded until the end of March 2019 and the Chair hoped that all the impacts and any learning that came from that support worker would be forming part of the report that would be coming back to committee.  The Head of Housing Need explained that the Southdown support worker had been commissioned by Adult Social Care Commissioning and officers would be looking at all the support that was being provided and how that could be considered in the proposals put to the report in January. 

  

40.19  Members voted on the amended amendment which was unanimously agreed. Members then voted on the substantive proposal as amended and this was unanimously agreed.

 

40.20  RESOLVED:-

 

(1)            That the Committee notes the contents of the report.

 

(2)            That the independent survey report, along with any interim recommendations to improve support for people living in Kendal Court, is provided for consideration of the January meeting of Housing and New Homes Committee.

 

(3)      That the report to January meeting of Housing and New Homes Committee explores options (including any cost implications) for the provision of travel cards, to enable residents living in emergency accommodation out of the city to more easily connect with services, friends and family.

 

Supporting documents:

 


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