The Committee received a presentation from Councillor Mrs R. Renton, Executive Member for Housing, which addressed each workstream in the portfolio and noted in particular:
• Sustaining the increase in homelessness preventions for the year to date as compared to last year;
• Addressing challenges anticipated when the Homelessness Reduction Bill comes into force, in particular budget pressures;
• The work of the Family Support Team and the recognition of the high quality of work undertaken and changes achieved by the team;
• Revenues, Benefits & Fraud Service work internally and their revenue generating external work; and
• Raven Housing Trust’s Strategic Partnership Agreement with the Council and the changes to the relationship and governance as a result of this arrangement.
Questions and comments related to:
• Raven Housing Trust’s affordable home building commitment and confirmation that the 75% nomination rights held by the Council were being retained;
• The availability of comparative data available regarding length of stay in Emergency and Temporary Accommodation for homeless residents in this borough, in the county and nationally. National data was not available but officers would look into the availability of data held by the Council and other Surrey local authorities;
• The reasons for homelessness and how the Council provides support to address the different needs of residents at risk of homelessness;
• The reasons for which homelessness applications are rejected and the assistance, beyond statutory obligations, provided by the Council to those individuals whose applications had been rejected;
• The reasons for which families were housed in emergency accommodation outside the borough and how the Council was working to find solutions that avoided families being placed outside the borough whenever possible;
• Action being taken to mitigate, so far as possible, the effects of the Homelessness Reduction Bill, Universal Credit, and the benefits cap; and
• Details of the current welfare, social and employment situation and future prospects for the Syrian families living in the borough.
The Committee thanked the Portfolio Holder for the presentation and for responding to its questions. The Chairman particularly congratulated Cllr Mrs Renton and the Housing team for its achievements to date and for an excellent presentation which covered the most complicated portfolio.
RESOLVED that the presentation be noted.