Notes of Homeless Strategy Monitoring Group
Held Thursday 22nd April 04 at Mendip District Council Offices
Liz Buswell Knightstone Housing Association
Simon Gardiner Robert Barton Trust
Judy Wright Frome Social Services
Jonathon Kerslake Shelter
Rob Spraggon Mendip YMCA
Kaz Watkinson Mendip YMCA
Derek Lambert Mendip Housing Ltd
Wendy Robertson Mendip District Council
Minutes of last meeting accepted, no matters arising.
Members introduced themselves.
1. Homeless Working Party
Wendy gave an update from the Homeless Working Party. Originally set up as an outcome from
the homeless strategy. It is still meeting and currently considering the long term delivery of the
service. It is in the process of carrying out an exercise to cost an enhanced service to meet the
aims and objectives of the strategy and changes in legislation. The working group have asked
that initially this is costed by the current provider and a comparison made by costing for an ‘in-
2. Statistical Reports
Wendy presented the reports (handed out at meeting), giving details of homeless applications,
decisions, numbers housed, use of B & B and the unverified total for the years ending March
3. Bed & Breakfast
The ODPM set the following targets:
No families (or pregnant woman) would be placed in Bed & Breakfast accommodation, except in
an emergency and then for no longer than six weeks. This came into force on 1 st April 04.
Mendip District Council met the targets for B & B in February and March. The Council is still
dependant on B & B to discharge its duty toward single applicants.
4. Action Plan
Wendy updated members on the action plan. Main area of concern is:
That whilst we still have the money available and have succeeded in Frome to set up
‘Keyring’ scheme for learning disabled; they have been unable, so far, to secure properties in
the Street/Glastonbury area to implement it in the West of the area.
The Schools Programme is just about to complete a year’s pilot scheme aimed at years 10 &
11 of secondary schools, to educate and advise young people on homelessness. MDC are
awaiting final reports but the feedback so far has been very good. The YMCA would like to
continue to deliver this information to schools for a further year. Subject to a final review of
the outcome report, Mendip D C has managed to secure sufficient funding from the ODPM
funding to support this.
Still trying to set up the mediation service for young people being evicted by family and
friends. YMCA has produced an acceptable specification for a full time post but MDC have
only £10k to put into the pot. MDC & YMCA have sought funding from Social Service and
Supporting People, so far, without success. YMCA is willing to absorb many of the staff on
costs and we are still hopeful of getting a mediation service in place. The other alternative is
to ‘buy in’ one off visits as required by a mediation Service such as Somerset Mediation. At
this stage MDC prefer to have a tailor made service which we feel will fit our districts need.
MDC need a robust way of assessing rough sleeping in the district to establish whether
among other things it is necessary to carry out an official rough sleeper count. RBT agreed to
provide a monthly report on the service they provide which includes information on where
people are ‘sleeping’.
A Homeless at Home procedure has been agreed. This will assist in the reduction of the use
of B & B in an emergency.
The Allocations Policy has been reviewed and amended to ensure that unintentionally
homeless households are afforded the preference needed to ensure that whatever temporary
accommodation they are placed in they are given equal status on the register. All such
households are now awarded the same number of points and are considered for suitable
housing in date order.
There are targets set to ensure that overall 70% of general needs nominations are filled by
priority homeless households either directly or indirectly by transfers. On all new sites we are
targeting 40% to homeless, 30% to transfers (voids to be filled by homeless) and 30% to
general needs applicants, which will also meet the 70% overall target. Jonathon asked for a
copy of this.
5. Private Leasing Scheme (PLS) &
Private Landlord Leasing Schemes (PLLS)
PLS. Sarsen H A is currently working with a local landlord in Glastonbury on providing 8 x 2 bed
flats. The properties are brand new and centrally located. The properties are likely to be
available in a month. Our developers are also talking to Sign Post about another scheme
comprising of 3 x 1 bed flats in Glastonbury. MDC will be launching a publicity campaign in the
near future to encourage landlords to come forward; we will be targeting Glastonbury, Street and
PLLS. The two properties we took in under this scheme are working well. They provide good
quality temporary accommodation, whilst still be cost effective for the local authority. The
property in Glastonbury has had no change on tenant. Whereas in Frome, we have had 3
changes of tenancy.
This highlights the problems of the shortage of permanent accommodation in Glastonbury.
It was suggested that PLLS landlords be invited to the Landlords Forum. Wendy advised that
this had already been agreed.
Date of next meeting Thursday 22nd July in the Conference Room,
Mendip District Council Officer.
Any agenda items to Wendy Robertson during the week commencing 12 th July please.