Your Councillors

COMMUNITIES, HOUSING and ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE

12th February 2019

 

Temporary Accommodation for Homeless Households

 

Final Decision-Maker

Communities, Housing and Environment Committee

Lead Head of Service

John Foster, Acting Head of Regeneration and Economic Development

Lead Officer and Report Author

Andrew Connors, Housing Delivery Manager.

Classification

Public

 

 

Wards affected

All

 

Executive Summary

The success achieved in providing Council-owned temporary accommodation has been reported previously to the Committee. The first phase of acquiring properties for temporary accommodation via the purchase and repair programme has been completed and was delivered within budget, with an underspend of £180,000. The second phase of the programme is well underway and will once again be delivered within budget with an estimated under spend of around £63,000 once completed.

 

The increase in homelessness represents a current and extremely important matter that needs to be addressed. This report therefore makes a recommendation in relation to any underspend within the existing previously approved capital budget for Housing Investments, being released for investing in further property for use as temporary accommodation for homeless households.

 

 

This report makes the following recommendation to this Committee

That:

 

1.† The underspent sum of £180,000 within the previously approved capital budget for Housing Investments be released for investing in further property for use as temporary accommodation for homeless households.

 

2.† Any further additional underspend within the previously approved capital budget for Housing Investments be released for investing in further property for use as temporary accommodation for homeless households.

 

 

 

 

 

Timetable

Meeting

Date

Communities, Housing and Environment Committee

12th February 2019



Temporary Accommodation for Homeless Households

 

 

 

1.††††† INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

 

1.1     A report regarding the Temporary Accommodation Strategy was presented to the Committee on the 13th December 2016, which set out the requirement for a range of temporary accommodation including; a small portfolio of 13 units to be bought and retained by the Council. The Committee approved in principal to acquiring through purchase or lease 13 additional units of temporary accommodation to be agreed on a case by case basis, in order to provide a portfolio of temporary accommodation that matches demand.

1.1     There was £3.9m in the Housing Investments Capital budget to support this purchase and repair programme, which equated to £300,000 per property (fully inclusive of all works, fees, SDLT).† It was also previously suggested that there may exist an opportunity for the Committee to decide to acquire more properties, if a business case still exists, and the properties so far acquired have Ďunderspentí in terms of the total budget available for this project.

1.2    The Temporary Accommodation Strategy was reviewed by this Committee on 12th December 2017, with a further recommendation that the Council increase the portfolio of Temporary Accommodation stock further. The initial (phase one) purchase and repair programme, being extended (phase two) to acquire 15 additional properties, within an agreed budget £4.5m.

1.3    The Committee subsequently gave delegated authority to the Director of Finance and Business Improvement on the 20th March 2018, to determine the number, size and type of temporary accommodation to be acquired in accordance with the decision made by the Committee on 12 December 2017, within the previously agreed budget.

1.4     The initial (phase one) purchase and repair programme is completed and was delivered within budget, with underspend of £180,000. Phase two of the purchase and repair programme is now fully underway with 15 properties already completed and handed over, with a further 2 anticipated by the end of March this year.

1.5     Phase two of the programme will once again be delivered within budget and there is estimated to be an under spend of around £63,000, giving a total estimated combined under spend for programme phases one and two of approximately £243,000. The final under spend for phase two will be confirmed upon completion of the programme.




1.6     The success achieved in providing Council-owned temporary accommodation has been reported previously to the Committee. †The increase in homelessness still represents a current and extremely important matter that needs to be tackled now. This report therefore makes a recommendation that any underspend within the existing previously approved capital budget for Housing Investments, be released for investing in further property for use as temporary accommodation for homeless households.

1.7     If the underspend is not spent by the end of this financial year (2018/19), as a matter of course, such remaining sums of underspend will be carried forward for expenditure in 2019/20.

1.8     Based on the previous total costs of individual property type and sizes delivered so far within the first two programme phases, it is anticipated that the combined underspend will yield a further additional property. The number, type and size will be determined by the delegated authority given to the Director of Business Improvement in accordance with the previous aforementioned decision made by the Committee on the 20th March 2018

1.9         In addition, the Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Review was presented to Committee on the 15th January 2019. The Committee approved that the Policy and Resources Committee are recommended to invest a further sum of £3 million towards acquiring additional temporary accommodation (phase 3) in order to meet rising need.† The Policy and Resources Committee will finalise the budget proposals after considering comments from all Service Committees, at its meeting on the 13th February 2019, prior to submission to Council on the 27th February 2019.

 

 

2.        AVAILABLE OPTIONS

 

2.1     The Committee could choose not to follow the recommendation and make a budgetary saving or utilise the under spend in another service area. To do so however would not enable the Council to fully realise the benefit that could be obtained by purchasing additional property within previously agreed budgets.

 

2.2     The Committee choose to approve that the sum of £180,000 and any further additional underspend within the existing previously approved capital budgets for Housing Investments, †be released for investing in further property for use as temporary accommodation for homeless households.

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3.        PREFERRED OPTION AND REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

 

3.1         The preferred option is within paragraph 2.2, as this will allow the Council to make best use of the funds previously agreed to purchase additional temporary accommodation for homeless households.

 

 

4.       RISK

4.1        The risks associated with this proposal, including the risks if the Council does not act as recommended, have been considered in line with the Councilís Risk Management Framework.† We are satisfied that the risks associated are within the Councilís risk appetite and will be managed as per the Policy.

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5.       CONSULTATION RESULTS AND PREVIOUS COMMITTEE FEEDBACK

 

5.1     None required.

 

 

 

6.       NEXT STEPS: COMMUNICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECISION

 

6.1     The Council can proceed with investing the underspend towards the completion of property purchases upon approval of the recommendation. Property being considered and approved for purchase will continue to be approved on a case by case basis (in consultation with the Chair of the Committee) and be in accordance with the relevant temporary accommodation standards and acceptance criteria. Ward Councillors will also continue to be notified of the Councilís intention to purchase any property that falls within their ward.

6.2     The relevant searches and due diligence by Mid Kent Legal Services will be carried out to help progress agreement through to exchange and completion of contracts.

 

 

7.       CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS

 

 

Issue

Implications

Sign-off

Impact on Corporate Priorities

Preventing homelessness is a key priority of the Housing Strategy. ĎA home for everyoneí is a priority within the Strategic Plan.

John Foster, Acting Head of Regeneration and Economic Development

Risk Management

Already covered in the risk section.

John Foster, Acting Head of Regeneration and Economic Development

Financial

The proposals set out in the recommendation are all within already approved budgetary headings within the capital programme and so need for new funding for implementation.

 

†Paul Holland, Senior Finance Manager

Staffing

The work towards completing any property purchases will be established using existing staff resources and the appointed Employers Agent.

John Foster, Acting Head of Regeneration and Economic Development

Legal

Accepting the recommendations will fulfil the Councilís duties under the Housing Act 1996 and the Homelessness Act 2002.  Failure to accept the recommendations without agreeing suitable alternatives may place the Council in breach of these acts.

Acting on the recommendations is within the Councilís powers as set out in the Constitution.

 

Team Leader, Contracts and Commissioning

Privacy and Data Protection

 

No implications

 

Team Leader, Contracts and Commissioning

Equalities

The recommendations do not propose a change in service therefore will not require an equalities impact assessment.

Equalities and Corporate Policy Officer

Public Health

We recognise that the recommendations will have a positive impact on population health or that of individuals.

 

 

John Foster, Acting Head of Regeneration and Economic Development

Crime and Disorder

No implications.

John Foster, Acting Head of Regeneration and Economic Development

Procurement

Contractor for works, Employers Agent and management service providers are already appointed in accordance with the Councilís procurement procedures.

John Foster, Acting Head of Regeneration and Economic Development.





8.        REPORT APPENDICES

 

The following documents are to be published with this report and form part of the report:

         None

 

 

9.        BACKGROUND PAPERS

 

Temporary Accommodation Strategy Report Ė December 2016

Temporary Accommodation Strategy Review Report - December 2017

Temporary Accommodation Strategy Review Report Ė March 2018