Venue: Civic Centre, Hanbury Road, Pontypool NP4 6YB
Contact: Jacquelyn Tranter Senior Business Support Officer - Democratic Services
Attendance / Presenoldeb
The Presiding Member reminded everyone present tat the meeting was being broadcast live over the internet, welcomed everyone and outline the usual procedural arrangements – microphone use, muting noisy devices, the emergency evacuation procedures and the need for motions in writing.
Officers on the dias / presenting:
Nigel Aurelius, Assistant Chief Executive (Resources)
Delyth Harries, Monitoring Officer and Assistant Chief Legal Officer
Simon Rose, Group Manager Housing and Commissioning
Jacquelyn Tranter, Senior Democratic Services Officer
Alison Ward, Chief Executive
Andrew Clark, Cornerstone
Jo Payne, Cornerstone
Other officers attending or observing from the gallery for parts of the meeting:
James Griffin, Head of transformation and Improvement
Karen Kerslake, Lead Officer, Community Safety, Public Services
Neil Jones, Head of Communications, Engagement and Civil Contingencies
Rachel Jowitt, Chief Officer Neighbourhoods, Planning and Public Protection
Gill Pratlett, Head of Adult Services, Housing and Commissioning
Alan Brunt, Bron Afon Chief Executive
Emma Fish, Bron Afon
Emma Hammonds, Bron Afon
Mr Manning – Member of the public
Apologies for Absence / Ymddiheuriadau am absenoldeb
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Ronald Burnett, Giles Davies, Kathy Evans, Stuart Evans, Elizabeth Haynes, Alan Jones and Richard Overton.
Declarations of interest / Datganiadau o fudd
3.1 The MO&ACLO advised members of their responsibility to declare personal and prejudicial interests. She stated that she was not aware of any interests. Members were also reminded not to provide any information which identified individuals or was likely to identify individuals whilst discussing the report.
3.2 During the meeting Councillor Robert Kemp declared a personal interest as a registered social landlord.
4.1 The GMH&C introduced himself and colleagues from Cornerstone who were in attendance to answer members’ questions.
4.2 The GMHC outlined the homelessness and rough sleeping situation in Torfaen in the context of legal requirements, the changing demands of homelessness and the opportunities for improvements through networking, working with charities and third sector organisations.
4.3 The GMHC commented on the wealth of experienced staff and providers within Torfaen who diligently work to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping. Torfaen’s approach to addressing the challenges of homelessness and rough sleeping was explained as well as:
· The work of the Housing Solutions Service;
· The principles of Housing First;
· The prevention process and the development of a Personal Housing Plan;
· The homelessness demand in Torfaen and the risk and complexities of rough sleepers;
· The strategies, plans and support in place to meet the needs of the homelessness and rough sleepers, including regional strategies, adverse weather plans, outreach support and new pilot projects and schemes.
4.4 In summary, the GMHC referred to the extremely complex homelessness issues and underlined the necessity of managing expectations, a multi-agency approach and recognition that various strategies are available. The GMHC stated that early intervention and an outcome focussed approach is essential, and of course, adequate funding.
4.5 The Executive Member for Adult Services and Housing welcomed Simon Rose, GMHC and thanked him and the housing services team for compiling the comprehensive report. He commented that he welcomed the opportunity to discuss the complex issue of homelessness collectively at this meeting. He commented on challenges faced and current and future intervention programmes and encouraged members to engage with officers of Cornerstone to find out more about their excellent work.
4.6 In response to members’ questions, The Executive Member, GMHC and Andrew Clark, Cornerstone (ACC) explained:
· The prevention fund can be used for breaking financial barriers for tenants wishing to secure private rented accommodation by helping to pay bonds and advance rent. Significant issues can arise in accessing private rented accommodation due to rent levels. The housing allowance rate is below what the majority of private properties are let at, so that causes difficulties in sourcing accommodation. Potentially, the shortfall has to be covered for a short period of time. The GHM&C explained that there are some positive links with private sector landlords, with new initiatives taking place. He said there is a further role for local authorities both locally and regionally to invigorate support for landlords and tenants to sustain tenancies and give confidence that local authorities are investing in the private sector. This is needed to move forward. Currently, the Welsh Government (WG) are remodelling bond schemes and there is an on-going WG review around the bond scheme delivered by POBL. Also, there is a piece of on-going work that will potentially change how the old bond schemes operated and worked. Generally, private landlords are business people and look for a return on their investments and would opt for clients who are working above individuals on benefits. ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Date and time of next meeting 28.01.20 / Dyddiad ac amser y cyfarfod nesaf 28.01.20
5.1 Council NOTED that the next ordinary meeting of Council was scheduled for Tuesday 28th January 2020 at 10.00a.m. in the Council Chamber at the Civic Centre, Pontypool.