Our House and Housing First Project Updates and Funding Extension Options
To update members on the ‘Our House’ and Housing First projects since their inception, to recommend the continuation of the projects and outline future opportunities over the next two years.
a) Agrees the recommendation to continue the projects for a further 18 months from April 2022;
b) That Cabinet agrees to outsource the Support element of both projects via waiver;
c) Agrees to the exploration of external funding sources including bidding for Government and/or community grant funds in order to continue the projects;
d) Agrees to use Housing Reserve / Housing Grant Underspend as set out in 2.35 to guarantee the continuation of the projects whilst alternative funding options are explored; and
e) Approves the delegation of any amendments to these allocations to the Housing Manager in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness subject to compliance with funding allocation conditions.
Members received a report from the Group Manager for Resident Services and the Housing Manager which updated members on the ‘Our House’ and Housing First projects since their inception, and recommended the continuation of the projects and outline future opportunities over the next two years.
The report explained that the Council had worked with Countywide partners for many years to provide a collaborative approach to ending rough sleeping in the County and, as a result, Oxfordshire had both an established Young Peoples Supported Accommodation Pathway and an Adult Homelessness Pathway, achieving much success in reducing the numbers of those that were sleeping out.
The report explained that the Adult Homelessness Pathway would be refreshed for 2022- 2025 by adopting a more Housing First focused approach, whilst still continuing to deliver effective supported accommodation. However, due to the high concentration of rough sleeping in Oxford City, and the graduation of people from rural areas to the services located in the City, much of the funding and supported accommodation projects were located in Oxford.
The report detailed how the Housing First project operated and how it worked alongside the Adult Homeless Pathway and gave an update on the numbers of individuals helped over the past twelve months. The complex funding streams supporting this work were outlined at paragraph 3.1 and a list of them was provided at Annex A, showing how they related to West Oxfordshire.
There were a number of proposals set out at section 2.26 of the report and these were aimed at reducing the use and time spent in expensive short term, emergency accommodation by utilising the funds in the Housing Reserve account, if further grant funding cannot be sourced, benefiting both the Council and the client in the longer term.
There were no alternative options outlined in the report.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Councillor Davies, introduced the report and highlighted that this was a very targeted and specific project, designed to help vulnerable people. So far eighteen young people had been helped to find housing and were being supported on the path to independence. She hoped that the continuation of the projects would be supported and proposed the recommendations as laid out.
This was seconded by Councillor Haine, who was very supportive of both causes detailed in the report and he referred to paragraph 2.16 of the report which outlined the projects successes.
Following a question from Councillor Postan regarding a definition for the term ‘disability’, Councillor Davies proposed that officers respond directly after the meeting.
Clarification was also given on the support given to anyone suffering or fleeing from Domestic Violence and officers gave an outline of the external organisations worked with.
Councillor Enright supported the projects and highlighted a minor grammatical error in recommendation d) which should read ‘as set out in 2.33’. Councillor Graham also expressed his support for the initiatives and asked what the strategy was beyond the two year timescale, if and how it would be reviewed and relevant timescales.
In response, Councillor Davies explained that this report was funding specific for two years. Officers advised that the project was constantly under review and would enable the existing bed spaces to remain accessible.
Having been proposed and duly seconded, the Cabinet
a) the recommendation to continue the projects for a further 18 months from April 2022, is agreed;
b) the outsourcing of the Support element of both projects via waiver, is agreed;
c) the exploration of external funding sources including bidding for Government and/or community grant funds in order to continue the projects, is agreed;
d) the use of the Housing Reserve / Housing Grant Underspend, as set out in paragraph 2.33 of the report, to guarantee the continuation of the projects whilst alternative funding options are explored, is agreed; and
e) delegation of any amendments to these allocations is given to the Housing Manager in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness subject to compliance with funding allocation conditions.
- 7 - Our House Nov21 Fiinal, item 54. PDF 184 KB
- 7 - Our House - Annex A Funding Streams, item 54. PDF 117 KB