The financial COST of the Council’s growing reliance on expensive Bed and Breakfast accommodation

Challenges on temporary accommodation and homelessness budgets…

 

Phil Harris, Head of Housing and Wellbeing advised (January 2018) that over the last two years homeless applications to the Council has doubled, in the same period, households in temporary accommodation has trebled and social housing has decreased which has led to an increase in those in temporary accommodation. The Housing Officer’s caseloads has significantly increased which in turn had increased the number of outstanding decisions.

For example, Officers had around 50 cases outstanding (the norm being 15); the backlog had increased and by September 2017 had peaked at 200 plus, with 150 families in temporary accommodation. The number of people living in bed and breakfast accommodation had trebled; with a number living outside the borough. An action plan was produced and 130 decisions were outsourced to a Residential Group that had helped to relieve the pressure.

From September to December 2017, homeless applications had decreased from 205 to 66. Housing Officers caseloads reduced from 59 to 18 and the average wait time to see a Housing Officer reduced from 4 weeks to a few days. Further statistics were provided. This approach, through a series of Policy changes, had worked very well as it had reduced the backlog, reduced workloads etc. The Team is coping much better now BUT COST is a challenge. Funding from central Government is only a fraction of the actual cost to the Authority.

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Labour should press the government to reopen the 2012 council housing ‘debt settlement’

Labour should press the government to reopen the 2012 council housing ‘debt settlement’

 

Local authority Housing Revenue Accounts are suffering a financial crisis as a result of extra ‘debt’ imposed on them in 2012 and government policies since then which have resulted in a significant loss of income. The signatories (of which I’m one)to this Appeal are calling on Labour to urgently press the government to reopen the council housing ‘debt settlement’ of 2012 and to cut the debt in line with income lost as a result of government policies.

 

See attachment for more of the detail Labour should press the government to reopen the 2012 council housing debt settlement

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Housing security time bomb ticking for 1,661 Northampton council households

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How Northampton Council culled the housing register….from 10,000 to 3,000

How Northampton Council culled the housing register….from 10,000 to 3,000

The pen and willing voting fodder is mightier than building homes for people on a housing waiting it seems

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Are Northampton Borough Council using a loophole in homelessness legislation?

Are NBC using a loophole in homelessness legislation?

London councils skirt six-week rule for homeless families

Homeless families are being housed for protracted periods in council-owned properties, Inside Housing has discovered, in conditions that would be illegal if their temporary accommodation was privately owned.

https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/news/london-councils-skirt-six-week-rule-for-homeless-families-54132

What Northampton Defend Council Housing would be interested to know is are NBC making use of loophole in homelessness legislation?

Norman Adams said “what I do know is in November 2017 the council was using 65 of its own properties for temporary accommodation”

Norman Adams – Northampton – 25 January 2018

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6% of the housing replaced will be met with trumpets and grinning great and good

February 2018

 

6% of the housing replaced will be met with trumpets and grinning great and good 

At Spring Boroughs Northampton Partnership Homes are working with partners Willmott Dixon and Keepmoat Regeneration on a number of developments.

These include building:

14 three bedroom and 2 four bedroom houses + 9 two bedroom maisonettes with private terraced gardens + 9 one bedroom apartments = 34

 

The first of these (at Lower Bath Street and Althorpe Street) are due to be completed in February.

What will NOT be trumpeted are sales of council homes (since April 2012) 558 and this 34 is only a 6% replacement rate

Norman Adams – January 2018 – Northampton

 

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Warning to Tenants if your circumstances have changed (for the better) you could be kicked out.

If it is decided at the review that you are not going to be granted a further tenancy you will get 2 months notice … THAT’S NICE!   

 

 

 

 

 

 Northampton Partnership Homes (NPH) have provided the current position:-

If it is decided you are not going to be granted a further tenancy then we will serve you with a notice at least 2 months before your tenancy is due to end.

 

The government doesn’t talk about ‘secure tenancies’. It prefers to call them ‘lifetime tenancies’. There is a propaganda purpose in this. It implies that it’s unreasonable to give tenants ‘a home for life’. In fact, a ‘secure tenancy’ is an open-ended tenancy, but it’s not necessarily for life. Tenants can be evicted for breaches of their tenancy agreement and are.

Norman Adams – Northampton DCH – January 2018  

Not all Council Tenants in Northampton have a lifetime tenancy

 

The Localism Act enables councils to make changes to how homes are let:

Northampton Borough Council’s Cabinet discussed proposed changes to the Housing Allocations Policy and the Tenancy Strategy in December 2012

Major changes adopted altered  the way the council and housing associations in the town lets out properties and the type of tenancy any new tenants would be offered.

The changes seen the introduction of flexible tenancies, This means that not all new tenants are given a lifetime tenancy, instead flexible tenancies can and are offered for a minimum of five years. Housing associations are also encouraged to offer similar tenancies through their tenancy policies.

Existing tenants (2012) will not be affected by the changes unless they move to an affordable rented home in which they would pay a higher rent. However, people on the Housing Register who might be offered a property in the future would only be given a tenancy for five years.

Respondents to the Tenancy Strategy supported the idea to introduce flexible tenancies and 94% agreed with the proposal to give older people a lifetime tenancy and 80% of people agreed that tenancies should be renewed after five years if people’s circumstances had not changed.

What is the situation now?

By July 2014 189 tenants were on flexible tenancies by July 2017 this had risen to 1,458

Norman Adams – Northampton DCH – January 2018

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