The new reduction in the benefit cap to £20,000 is expected to affect around 850 households (early analysis). Changes to Tax Credits from April 2016 will impact on several thousand households and increases in benefits will no longer be paid for third or subsequent children born after 2017. The council is working through the implications of these changes with its partners to allow it to appropriately plan how to support those affected and to prepare. In addition to working with local people who are experiencing difficulties due to the changes in welfare benefits we also provide range of services that promote the Government’s initiatives specifically aimed at helping local people such as increasing grant funding to debt advice agencies and operating our own local mortgage rescue scheme for households we believe we can help who fall outside of the governments criteria for assistance.
420 Households were accepted as homeless in 2014/15 and 1,456 Households were living in temporary accommodation on 31st March 2015, of those 1,246 were households with a homeless (Section 193) duty owed. In addition, our Housing Options service and external partners prevented 2,538 households from becoming homeless.
Rough sleeping remains a visible presence, particularly in the city centre. Following the recession the number of rough sleepers has increased with an estimated 132 people sleeping on the streets. Agencies have seen a doubling in the numbers of rough sleepers worked with to more than 1,000 in a year.
Locally connected rough sleepers have access to the integrated support pathway which provides a route from rough sleeping into intensive 24 hour supported accommodation with the levels of support reducing as people’s health, skills and confidence improve. Brighton & Hove has also adopted a no second night out approach to rough sleeping with all those new to rough sleeping being identified and supported off the streets straight away to prevent them becoming entrenched in a rough sleeping lifestyle. A new Housing First service has been commissioned to provide support to former rough sleepers with complex needs.
A new Integrated Health & Care Board has been established “to improve the health and wellbeing of homeless people by providing integrated and responsive services that place people at the centre of their own care, promote independence and support them to fulfil their potential”. Membership of the Board includes representatives from adult social care, housing, public health, the CCG and NHS Trusts, a GP from Morley Street Homeless Healthcare, community and voluntary sector, Sussex Police and service user representation. The Board has strengthened care and support to homeless people in coordinating care and trialling service delivery through pilot projects, including the Sussex Community Trust Hostels Collaborative Project and Pathway Plus projects. The Board is developing an Integrated Health and Care Model for the homeless population of the city by April 2016.
To help residents maintain their independence at home, during 2014/15 we completed 179 Disabled Facilities Grant assisted major adaptations to private sector households (owner-occupiers, private tenants, housing association tenants) plus 238 major and 655 minor adaptations to council properties.
The Council invested over £2.6m on adaptations across the city last year, £1.4m through Disabled Facilities Grant and £1.2m in housing revenue account funding for council homes. We also work with developers and landlords to ensure that accessible and adapted affordable housing is advertised and let to Housing Register applicants with a matching need. In the face of significant budget pressures the Council’s Housing Related Support Commissioning Plan for 2015 identifies a funding reduction of £2m across the housing related support budgets in 2015/16. To manage this services are being reviewed, remodelled, retendered or decommissioned.
 Includes homelessness prevented and relieved cases
 Part VII of the 1996 Housing Act defines local connection as being either a) residence of 6 out of the last 12 months or b) residence of 3 out of the last 5 years or c) employment or d) some other special reason.