Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend DA12 1AU. View directions
Contact: Committee Section
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Deborah Croxton and Councillor Lyn Milner. Councillors Lee Croxton and Alison Williams attended as their substitutes.
The minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday, 21 March 2023 were signed by the Chair
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
Members were presented with the new Rough Sleeping Strategy 2023. The purpose of this report was to provide the Housing Services Cabinet Committee with an overview of the Councils Rough Sleeping Strategy 2023-2025, to help achieve the Government’s target of reducing rough sleeping.
The Rough Sleeping Partnership Manager explained that Gravesham had not had a standalone strategy before and now more than ever there was a great need for one. She highlighted that the new Rough Sleeping Strategy would be published on the Council’s website, providing transparency, increasing awareness of the issue and informing the public of the Council’s approach on how rough sleeping would be tackled. It was noted that a published strategy would facilitate collaboration between the Council and other stakeholders, including local businesses, community groups, and service providers.
The Rough Sleeping Partnership Manager outlined key aims and objectives of the report which included:
· Explaining how the Council work with the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to meet the Government’s commitment to significantly reduce rough sleeping by 2027.
· Reducing the number of people sleeping rough in the area
· Providing support and accommodation for those sleeping rough
· Working with local partners to offer further support to those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
· Offering tailored support to vulnerable individuals, such as mental health issues, substance abuse and those who have experienced domestic violence.
The Rough Sleeping Partnership Manager informed the Committee that the Council had been successful in securing funding of £999,631 from the Rough Sleepers Initiative (RSI) along with £350,372 for long term accommodation support. She advised Members that the funding from the RSI had facilitated recruitment of a new positions to assist with the cause, including a Rough Sleeping Initiative Manager, a Housing Resettlement Officer and Outreach Workers. The funding also provided budgets to assist with accommodation.
Members were updated that the funding for the long-term accommodation support, had enabled the Council to invest in a 10 bedroom supported accommodation facility which also had the provision of 4 emergency rooms.
The Rough Sleeping Partnership Manager concluded that the main focus of the strategy would be on prevention. Activities were planned to support this at community events and hubs to offer advice to people who may be at risk of sleeping rough. Close collaboration with partners would also continue along with using Street Link reports to identify individuals who are reported to be sleeping rough.
Members were advised that section 5.2 of the strategy relating to who the Council’s Rough Sleeping Partners were, needed to be updated as The House of Mercy was unfortunately closing.
The Rough Sleeping Partnership Manager drew Members attention to the action plan within the strategy, advising that it would be monitored and reviewed on a regular basis in order to keep information up to date.
The Chair thanked The Rough Sleeping Partnership Manager for the report and invited Members to give feedback:
· The Committee all welcomed the strategy, highlighting it was very positive standalone document for residents in Gravesham. ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Members were presented with The Building Safety Act 2022, The Fire Safety Act 2021 and The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 in relation to Council Housing. The purpose of the report was to update the Housing Cabinet Committee of recent changes to building and fire safety laws and regulations, their implications for the Authority, and the measures Housing Assets were taking to comply.
The Head of Housing Assets and Compliance & Projects Manager highlighted key aspects from the report.
The Chair invited Members to ask questions and give feedback:
Members were presented with Recycled Furniture and Household Goods Project. The purpose of the report was to inform Housing Services Cabinet Committee of a newly created sustainability initiative with Gravesend based charity, Ellenor Hospice, to recycle good quality unused furniture and household goods from void Council properties and estates to be sold in their charity shops reducing the waste sent by the Council to landfill.
The Project Surveyor (Energy and Sustainability) highlighted key information from the report:
The Chair commended the report noting it was a good news story and invited Members to give feedback:
Members were presented with the Empty Homes Strategy 2023-2028. The purpose of the report was to provide Housing Services Cabinet Committee an introduction to the Empty Homes Strategy 2023-2028, along with action plan for implementation of the service.
The Private Sector Housing Manager highlighted key information from the report:
The Chair praised the report and invited Members to give feedback:
The Committee noted the report.
Members were presented with the Corporate Register of Partnership – July 2023. The purpose of this report was to inform Members of the Housing Services Committee of the Council’s involvement in partnerships that were within the remit of the Committee.
The Director (Housing) noted that the report came to Committee on an annual basis. He drew Member’s attention to Annex 1 of the report, which set out the Corporate Register of Partnership, that related to the work of Housing Services Committee. Members were updated that a new partnership had been formed with the Gravesham Community Investment Partnership.
The Committee noted the report