Business case for strategic review of homeless services by lizzy2008

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									  Business Case Proposal for the Strategic Review of Single
     Homelessness Service Provision in Worcestershire


Introduction
The Supporting People Partnership and Chief Housing Officers Group commissioned
a joint strategic review of the single homelessness sector. The aim is to compliment
the work already completed for the Worcestershire Homelessness Strategy. The
County strategy focused to a greater extent on statutory homelessness. The focus of
this review is on non-statutory, primarily single homeless people. The aim is to
appraise the housing and support options provided for single homeless people within
Worcestershire.

Worcestershire County Council and the six district councils contract with a wide
variety of organisations. This includes Registered Social Landlords (RSL’s) and
Voluntary Organisation’s to provide services for people who are homeless or
threatened with homelessness or who need support to sustain a their home. This
includes the provision of direct access and emergency accommodation, move-on
accommodation, resettlement support and floating support within their own home,
throughout the six districts of Worcestershire. These services are in the main funded
via the local Supporting People programme and the district councils funding. The
funding enables the provision of prevention services and a range of safe and
effective supported accommodation and housing-related support options.

The overarching aim of the services provided is to prevent homelessness or repeat
homelessness. The four elements within the services relate to the circumstances of
the person requiring support, which will include support: -
     To enable the sustainment of their current accommodation (i.e. to prevent
       homelessness)
     They are homeless or at risk of losing their home and becoming homeless
     They have received an offer of a tenancy and require support in order to take
       up the offer and sustain the tenancy
     They are homeless or housed in temporary accommodation and require
       support prior to securing a tenancy, in order that when obtained, the tenancy
       can be sustained.




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This review has a focus on complex needs and includes services for substance mis-
users, offenders, people with mental health issues and older homeless people.
These client groups link inextricably to homelessness. Drug users and offenders
particularly, continue to have difficulty in accessing appropriate housing and support.
The Crisis report in 2002 highlighted the interaction between the issues.

“The study reinforces previous findings that drug use can be a trigger factor for
homelessness but went on to conclude that homelessness was an even bigger
trigger for drug use, with many drug users starting or escalating their use as a means
of coping with homelessness. Taken together these two issues can present a
‘revolving door’ that many drug users find hard to escape”.
(Shelter – Safe As Houses: An inclusive approach for housing drug users)

The purpose of the services is to provide low level housing related support based
on their individual needs and aspirations. The services will empower people with
the life skills and confidence to regain control of their lives, live independently and
gain or sustain their own accommodation. The overall strategic aims for single
homeless services include: -
     Preventing homelessness and repeat homelessness
     Preventing People from offending and re-offending
     Prevent or limit longer-term needs for people to access Adult Social care
         services
     Prevent or limit longer-term needs for people to access Primary Health
         Care
     Increase Social Inclusion

To achieve these overarching aims, the services delivered across the county
support problematic and continuing drug users by using a harm reduction
approach. The aim of this is to acknowledge and effectively manage risks whilst
encouraging engagement with treatment. Organisations also support people
engaged in treatment, or requiring a drug free environment. Additionally
organisations support offenders with the aim of preventing re-offending.

The statutory provisions and housing and support services (non statutory)
provided across the county link to various national, regional and more local
county and district strategies and plans. The local strategies are primarily the
Worcestershire County Homelessness Strategy, Worcester Rough Sleepers
Strategy, Worcestershire’s Supporting People (SP) Strategy and Worcestershire’s
Children’s & Young People Strategic Partnership Plan. There are also clear links to
the district Housing Strategies, Mental Health (a draft strategy is due to be signed
off), Reducing The Harm of Drugs & Alcohol: A Strategy For Worcestershire,
Youth Offending Team Strategy, Community Safety Partnership Strategies (Wyre
Forest, Bromsgrove and Redditch & South Worcestershire) and Worcestershire
Forum Against Domestic Violence Strategy.




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It is important to ensure that the current range of services is effective and
meeting the needs of both current and future service users. In order to achieve
this, the Supporting People Partnership and the Chief Housing Officers Group are
working together to lead this strategic review of the homelessness sector with a
focus on appraising the housing and support options. This will be informed by a
SWOT analysis, which evaluates the: -
      Strengths (current availability)
      Weakness (inc. gaps in current provision)
      Opportunities (good practice models & service development)
      Threats (risks)

The Supporting People reviews have been completed, so it is an appropriate time
to look at any alternative practices in line with the current and future needs of the
service users. This will be a countywide and holistic review to encapsulate the
views of current and ex clients, staff, management boards and
stakeholders/referrers.

It is important that there is a range of housing and support provision including
hostels, dispersed houses and floating support in independent tenancies. There
is no ‘one model’ of provision or ‘pathway’, but a whole range of options needs to
be provided and available across the county to meet individual’s needs in a timely
way.

Current Provisions
Homelessness services such as hostels, other types of temporary accommodation
and some of the support services have been around for many years. In
Worcestershire, the community voluntary sector and registered social landlords
provide these on behalf of the districts and county council. These organisations laid
the foundations for the services we have in existence today. These services have
had to evolve over time as the needs of services users change.

It must be noted that the ‘profile of service users needs’ has been becoming
increasingly complex over time. Many stakeholders have stated that there is a
notable increase in management issues within social housing and within temporary
accommodation, highlighting the complexity of need. There is a need for support
services to tackle the underlying causes of homelessness and not just the symptoms.
There is also a clear need for a greater choice of housing and support options. A
range of ‘needs’ will be considered within this review, with a focus on the needs of
single people (including rough sleepers), gender (provision for females), age
(provision for older homeless people) & specific support needs such as substance
misuse, offenders and mental health issues.

Homelessness
Services with a primary client group logged as ‘homeless families with support needs’
and ‘single homeless with support needs’. There is currently a capacity of 398
individuals can be supported at any one time, this includes: -
     X80 units of service for homeless families
     X318 units of service for single homeless people

In terms of supported accommodation including move-on, this includes: -
     X0 units of supported accommodation or move-on for homeless families
       (please note the young people review covers Park Street – teenage parent



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       scheme & the domestic abuse review covers the refuge & safe house
       provision etc)
      X113 units of supported accommodation or move-on for single homeless
       people

In terms of resettlement or floating services, this includes: -
     X80 units/homeless families can be supported at any one time (i.e. engaged
       in a support service with an active support plan)
     X205 units/single homeless people can be supported at any one time (i.e.
       engaged in a support service with an active support plan)

The Supporting People Partnership contributes just over £2m per annum to
homelessness services (i.e. singles and families). The second largest contribution
being just under £0.5m via the district council’s and Communities & Local
Government (CLG). The aim of the strategic review will also be to ensure effect
contracts are in place with effective monitoring of outcomes and value for money.

Substance Misuse Support Services
Services with a primary client group logged as ‘substance misuse’, there is currently
a capacity of 64 individuals that can be supported at any one time. This is via
floating support (i.e. regardless of tenure or where the person lives).

Ex-Offender Support Services
Services with a primary client group logged as ‘ex-offenders’, there is currently a
capacity of 72 individuals that can be supported at any one time. This is via floating
support (i.e. regardless of tenure or where the person lives).

Other Services
There are also other complimentary services provided, provided via a range of other
sources such as CLG funds and charitable funding. This includes services such as
the CAB court based homelessness advice, rent deposit schemes (non priority cases
& homeless families), CAB debt advice, floating homeless prevention officers & home
visiting role, tenancy sustainment officers, mediation scheme for families and funding
spent on specific cases in terms of homeless prevention.

Implementation of the Project
A Project Team has been set up to review the current provision, consolidate
current good practices within Worcestershire, the needs and gaps in current
service provision, researching and visiting services considered to be good
practice across the country, consulting with current and former service users
(including rough sleepers) and organisations to establish if there are other
options/types of support that may have been chosen had it been available, what
would work best in Worcestershire and to adopt and share good practice with other
agencies. The Project Board overseeing this piece of work is the Chief Housing
Officers Group Plus (CHOG+).

The review will identify best practice and make a series of recommendations for
the future shape of services in Worcestershire.             Supporting People and
Worcester City Council (representing the Homeless Officers Group) are co-
ordinating the review process. Please refer to the attached proposed list of
individuals and organisations to be involved on the Project Team and Project
Board. It is anticipated that the project will be completed during summer 2008. The
review work to be completed by the end of July 2008, with findings and
recommendations being agreed September 2008.


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