Agenda item

The Alliance (Presentation and verbal update)


Matt Garrett, Service Director for Community Connections delivered a presentation to the Board on Homelessness and highlighted the following key points:



There had been an increase in the number of households accommodated in temporary accommodation from 163 in April 2019 to 284 in February 2022. The number of households in a Bed and Breakfast increased from 43 to 113 in the same time period. The number of families in a Bed and Breakfast had increased from 2 to 34;



9,00 households had been recorded on the housing register for alternative accommodation;



For the year 2021 – 2022 the Council had been approached by 3,000 households, this increased from 2018 where 2,500 households approached Plymouth City Council for alternative accommodation;



Demand had increased due to a number of contributory factors and included; relationship breakdown, impact on physical and mental health, end of furlough, end of the Universal Credit uplift, increased utility costs, end of the eviction moratorium and an increase in private sector rent costs;



Plymouth City Council had been working to create a single, structured, multi-agency programme of work with the aim of reducing and preventing homelessness in Plymouth;



In recognition of the crisis a taskforce had been created to seek a reduction in the number of households in Bed and Breakfast with a focus on reducing families within this accommodation;



The Plymouth Alliance worked alongside Plymouth City Council to provide a range of housing and homelessness prevention and floating support. The Alliance took a whole system approach in supporting people with complex needs and provide support for problematic substance use, mental health and offending;



The Plymouth Alliance had been working to reduce the number of people in temporary accommodation by; adding temporary accommodation, working with other accommodation providers; securing and using funds to help people remain in tenancies where they had been at risk or to secure new tenancies, providing additional support to families;



Plymouth had been awarded funding from the Department of Levelling up, Homes and Communities and National lottery. The Changing Futures Programme seeked to deliver a whole system transformation for people experiencing multiple disadvantage. The Programme received funding of £2.4 million across three years.


Members of the Board discussed:



There had been a range of accommodation for people that Plymouth City Council provided on an emergency basis and then on a longer term basis. The housing market in Plymouth had changed dramatically in the 6-9 months prior to March 2022 which had included an increase in private sector rents, an increase in home ownership and people finding it difficult to access accommodation. There had been a recognition that there were too many people in bed and breakfast accommodation and for too long. Plymouth Alliance had been co-ordinating efforts with the private sector to address the number of families in B&B accommodation;



The Board and Officers had not been aware of any national action to reduce the increased costs for those using pre-payment meters. It was acknowledged that the poorest people in the country would be in the majority for using pre-paid metres;



The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) which had been paid by the Department for Work and Pensions would not be increasing, however landlords would be able to charge whatever they wanted. This had been decreasing the number of landlords willing to rent to those in receipt of LHA. It was acknowledged that the LHA had not kept up with inflation with National Government not seeking to increase the allowance as it had been believed that this would move the private sector rental market in an upward trend;



There needed to be a focus on homelessness for the Board into next year;