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.