Homelessness and rough sleeping strategy newsletter - October 2019
Published: 10 October 2019
It seems appropriate on World Homeless Day to provide an update on Exeter’s homelessness projects and actions throughout the last year and a half – and there is plenty to talk about!
The last 18 months have been hugely significant for Exeter City Council’s Housing Needs team, seeing the introduction of a great variety of new projects aimed at reducing homelessness in the city. In particular, there has been a strong focus on offering alternative pathways to help for those who have previously found it difficult to engage with support services.
Rough Sleeping Initiative (RSI)
In April 2018 Exeter City Council secured funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Rough Sleeping Initiative as one of 83 local housing authorities with an estimated rough sleeper count of more than 20. Following consultation with local partners and MCHLG’s RSI team, Exeter prioritised eight key areas of need:
- Winter night shelter
- Expansion of Housing-Led to ‘Housing First’
- Tenancy Ready Scheme
- Shared Housing (women and offenders scheme)
- Resettlement from principal rough sleeper hostel
- Discretionary placements into ECC Temporary
- Mental Health Training and Clinics
- Rough Sleeping Coordinator
Rapid Rehousing Pathway (RRP)
Additional funding was secured in April 2019 through the MHCLG’s Rapid Rehousing Pathway fund. Work has already begun on Exeter's two chosen policy interventions:
- Specialist Navigators
- Local Letting Agency
More information on the RSI and RRP projects can be found in the rest of the newsletter so keep reading!
To conclude, we have also recently updated our homelessness and rough sleeping strategy action plan, detailing the actions we propose to take over the next two years to continue to reduce and prevent homelessness in the city.
Thank you for reading.
- April 2018: MHCLG Rough Sleeping Initiative funding secured
- July 2018: Women’s Project and Prison Resettlement Project begins
- September 2018: Mental Health Training and Clinics begin
- November 2018: emergency winter night shelter opens
- Housing First Exeter (HFE) 18 month pilot begins
- Tenancy Ready 18 month scheme begins
- March 2019: 2nd year RSI funding secured
- April 2019: Rapid Rehousing Pathway funding secured
- June/July 2019: Prison Navigators in situ
- August 2019: First Complex Navigators start in post
- Specialist navigators in situ
Homelessness & Rough Sleeping Exeter: The Figures
- 49% reduction in rough sleepers 2017/18
- 193 people accessed the night shelter November to March
- 468 homeless households offered support under the relief duty 2018/19
- 146 number of households for which homelessness relieved 2018/19
Specialist Navigators Project
Between June and October 2019, Exeter introduced six new full time navigators covering the following specialist areas:
- Adult social care
- Substance misuse
- Mental health
- Prison (x2)
The two prison navigators are focusing on outcomes for males and females with a connection to Exeter who were rough sleeping prior to custody. They will also be working in partnership with the other specialist navigators to support complex offenders with a history of rough sleeping and reoffending.
The navigators are working with rough sleepers/homeless persons who experience complex lives to help them engage with statutory and voluntary organisations, and ensure they are able to access the support they need to increase positive outcomes.
Local Letting Agency
Exeter’s local letting agency introduces a partnership between Exeter City Council and St Petrock’s. The Rapid Rehousing Pathway (RRP) will build on the work of St Petrock’s Private Rent and Support Service and housing projects to expand housing access to individuals who are rough sleeping or at risk of rough sleeping in Exeter, and who are “not owed a duty” by Exeter City Council and need additional support to access the sector. The service will operate as a social lettings service and will be developed using best practice models of working.
Shared Housing (women and offenders scheme)
With RSI funding covering start-up costs and tenancy sustainment support, Exeter City Council and Julian House successfully collaborated in 2018 to identify 5 private sector units across two properties, with 3 units planned for female rough sleepers and 2 for prison resettlement. By 25th January 2019 all 5 of these units were successfully occupied.
Housing First/Tenancy Ready
Using RSI funding, Exeter City Council successfully launched its Housing First Project, the first year seeing 5 units of ECC Housing Stock being brought into use with a further 10 units planned for 2019/20. The project offers individual self-contained units of accommodation with dedicated specialist support to long-term rough sleepers, for whom other services have been inaccessible or unsuccessful. Support is provided by BCHA and Julian House.
The Tenancy Ready scheme is aimed at individuals with a rough sleeping background who are ‘tenancy ready’. 10 housing association tenancies will be offered during the first year, including floating and financial support to ensure tenancies are sustained.
Mental Health Clinics, Training & Supervision
This ambitious work stream has been introduced with the aim of improving access to mental health support for rough sleepers and those at risk of rough sleeping in city. There are currently 3 psychology clinics operating per week:
- Young Person’s Projects
- Gabriel House
Regular training and supervision around Trauma is also ongoing for staff in frontline services across the city, to increase understanding of the effects of trauma on people experiencing homelessness.
One of the biggest success stories of 2018/19 was the opening of the emergency winter night shelter on 1st November 2018 in partnership with Julian House and BCHA. 193 individuals accessed the shelter during the 5 months in which it was operational – 3985 beds were delivered in total. Funding has been secured for a second year so this brilliant resource will be reopening in October 2019 to offer accommodation and support to those facing homelessness in Exeter during the coldest months of the year.
In October a link worker was introduced in the first stage homelessness hostel Gabriel House, to identify and engage those who are ready to move on into private rented or other accommodation. As well as assisting people into tenancies, the link worker helped arrange initial support, linking new tenants into the relevant local support services.
COMING UP NEXT TIME
- How we are working as a key partner of the new Exeter Homeless Partnership
- Updates and Success stories from our projects