Agenda item

Housing/Homelessness Strategies

Report of Executive Member Growth, Gordon Bambridge.

Minutes:

The Executive Member Growth presented the final proposed Breckland Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2017-21 to Members.

 

The Chairman asked the Executive Member how he had worked with Officers on the strategy.  The Executive Member said he had talked through all policies with his officers, added his comments and was satisfied that the policy was right for Breckland and complied with all actual and what could be future policy for Government.

 

The Strategic Housing Manager added that the strategy had been designed to provide clarity.  The document had been updated following discussions from a previous Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting, public consultation with key partners, employers, the public, social media and Parish Councils.  A positive response had been well received and a number of clear themes had developed on how to ensure the complex needs and mechanisms of housing was in place.  It was set with the caveat that Government policies continued to change for example the Homelessness Act was now in place. 

 

Councillor Wilkinson added that work with the outside agencies was important and applauded that Cabinet adopt the strategy.

 

Councillor Bambridge added that he had worked with the Housing Team when he witnessed the team dealing with a family who were applying for housing as they were due to be made homeless, and had also been involved in the armed forces.  He was very complementary on the way the housing team had dealt with the case.  He believed the system was working very well and the policy would only strengthen this.

 

Councillor Crawford was concerned the traveller sites were always full, and asked if there was capacity to take in travellers within Breckland.  The Housing Manager said he was aware of issues and had arranged meetings with the Police to address issues.


Councillor Crawford went onto ask if the authority checked for licenses on houses with multiple occupancy as the number of cars could cause issues.  The Housing Manager confirmed that there was a licensing scheme in place and landlords were approached for the appropriate licence.

 

Councillor Sharpe queried the figures within the report, in particular with the rates of new homes planned for the next 20 years, and the demographic information. The Strategic Housing Manager explained that the figures are correct, and relate to projected demography of household formation and attrition over a long term period.

 

Councillor Jermy was pleased to see comments made previously had been incorporated into the report.  He went onto ask what the mechanism would be for the report to return to the Commission, and if there would be a refresh with other housing policies.  The Housing Manager said the allocations policy would be reviewed.  Due to the recent service review within the Housing service area, a Housing hub would be developed which would provide general advice, allowing the options team to provide a more specialist advice service.  It had been proposed that a Handy Person Service be introduced which would provide more assistance and advice with low level adaptations.

 

The Strategic Housing Manager added that he would ensure the action plans were reviewed on an annual basis.  The actions in how to meet priorities would depend on national initiatives.

The Executive Member said the documents were very much a live document, and if any Members had concerns they should raise them with him.

 

The Chairman asked that an update of the report be given to the Commission in September, and should also be scheduled for a review in one-year.

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