Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council
REPORT TO SUBJECT WARD(S) KEY DECISION STATUS REPORT OF CONTACT
25 April 2002
Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Renewal Funding For Basingstoke Reach Out Scheme All No Open Interim Strategic Director Kate Randall– Tel (01256) 845392 or (01256) 844844 Ext 2392 e.mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Purpose The purpose of this report is to consider a grant of £14,000 in 2000/03 to support the Basingstoke Reach Out Project This report accords to the Council plan by enhancing the quality of life for residents in the Borough. Background Information The Reach Out Project was formed in 1999. It offers specialist community and housing support for homeless people who have complex needs. The overall aim of the scheme was to prevent homelessness by providing specialist support to people with mental health and substance misuse problems (referred to as ‘dual diagnosis’), and provide assistance for these people in accessing more permanent accommodation. The project represents an innovative multi agency partnership approach aimed at breaking the cycle between dual diagnosis, patterns of offending and homelessness. The scheme provides assistance for individuals within the Basingstoke and Deane locality who: Are homeless, such as sleeping rough or living in temporary hostel accommodation or with friends; or Were previously homeless but are vulnerable to returning to street life, or are currently threatened with losing their home; and Who have experienced problems related to mental health and substance or alcohol misuse.
Assistance may be provided with: Accessing temporary or permanent accommodation Accessing support services Maintaining current accommodation by preventing homelessness Resettlement into new accommodation 1 of 4
Offering housing and welfare benefit advice.
The Project is managed by the Mental After Care Association (MACA), who employ and manage a Project worker. The project has been overseen and monitored by a multi agency steering group comprising: Social Services Community Drug Service May Place House Health Authority Rapid Assessment Team Mentally Disordered Offenders Unit BDBC Housing Crisis
The funding for Reach Out was initially for a 3 year period and was provided jointly by Hampshire County Council through a Mental Illness Specific Grant and Crisis. Crisis is a national charity dedicated to the relief of poverty and distress among single homeless people Current Situation Since inception, the scheme has received referrals in respect of 75 individuals and currently offers support to 19 ‘open’ cases. Half of the current cases are receiving assistance in maintaining tenancies, with the remainder being assisted with resettlement or finding more settled accommodation. Since the project began, a total of 16 individuals have been found permanent housing and a further 26 found some form of temporary accommodation. In addition, the scheme has acted as advocate for a total of 28 people and achieved additional social or medical priority towards their applications for housing on the Common Housing Register. The project has also proved very successful in improving liaison and links between the statutory agencies involved with this client group, particularly the Housing Department and Community Mental Health Team. The annual costs for a Project Worker, together with Management and servicing costs for the scheme, will total £33,600 for 2002/03. In total £36,900 has already been pledged to support the project in 2002/03. Hampshire Social Services have agreed a 3-year funding contract initially providing funding of £23,300 in 2002/03. Crisis have also approved a further one-off grant of £13,600 which can only be allocated for new service development rather than maintaining already established services. At its meeting on 4 March 2002, the Project Steering Group agreed the most appropriate use for the Crisis contribution would be to develop a longer term support service, to help permanently accommodated individuals maintain their tenancies on an ongoing basis beyond the initial resettlement period. This could be achieved by the employment of an additional 30-hour support worker at a cost of £17,300. There may then be potential to maximise the new support worker’s hours to 37 per week through transitional housing benefit. A two-worker Project would also enable the scheme to develop the amount of street working carried out in the Borough.
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The costs for a Basingstoke Reach Out Project based on this model would therefore total £50,838. The available funding for £2002/03 from Social Services and Crisis will total £36,865, leaving a shortfall of £13,973. The project contributes to a number of the Council’s strategic housing objectives, particularly in relation to ensuring housing advice and support is available for vulnerable people. The continuation of the project will be vital in assisting the Council in its new statutory duties under the recently introduced Homelessness Act in relation to the provision of support to prevent homelessness or help homeless people find suitable accommodation. Consultation Already Undertaken The project worker recently consulted all stakeholders for the scheme, including service users. Issues raised as a result of the consultation included the need to expand the service and provide more long-term support to maintain tenancies. The decision to extend the Project model during 2002/03 was made in consultation by the partner agencies represented on the multi agency steering group. Environmental and Sustainability Considerations There are no environmental considerations contained within this report. The availability of specialist support contributes towards more sustainable communities by enabling vulnerable individuals to access and maintain suitable accommodation. tenancy. Financial Implications The total cost for a Basingstoke Reach Out Project in 2002/03 based on the model is estimated to be £50,900. The available funding for £2002/03 from Social Services and Crisis will total £36,900, leaving a shortfall of £14,000. There is a one-off sum of £25,000 available to support homelessness initiatives within the Neighbourhood Renewal revenue budget in 2002/03. If a grant of £14,000 is approved for the Basingstoke Outreach Project, a balance of £11,000 would be left to fund other initiatives in 2002/03. There is no ongoing revenue budget in the Neighbourhood Renewal Portfolio to support the project. Any future requirement for direct grant support will be the subject of a later report. Legal and Personnel Implications There are no personnel implications contained within this report. Under Section 1 of the Homelessness Act, the Council is under a duty to formulate a homelessness strategy, which aims include: Preventing homelessness in the district, and 3 of 4
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Securing the satisfactory provision of support for people in the district who are, or may become homeless; or who have become homeless and need support to prevent them becoming homeless again.
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The provision of financial support to fund the shortfall in the project would support the aims of this strategy. Recommendation A one-off grant of £14,000 is awarded in 2002/03 to support the Basingstoke Reach Out project. None None
APPENDICES BACKGROUND PAPERS
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