The Committee, in accordance with the decision made at its meeting on the 26th January 2023, received a monitoring report on the effectiveness of the new Emergency Social Housing Allocation Policy developed by its Task and Finish Group. It was noted the content of the report included data for the previous period relating to:-
1. Proportion of properties directly matched and those advertised,
2. Band if clients directly matched,
3. Number of properties directly matched and advertised by each community area, type of property and landlord,
4. Proportion of direct matches that were successful,
5. Number of direct matches where the client requested a review of the allocation and the outcome of those reviews,
6. Number of direct matches where the client refused the allocation but didn’t request a review.
The following questions/ issues were raised on the report:-
· In response to a question on the reduction in the proportion of properties matched in the first and second quarters, the committee was advised that could be attributable to a number of factors including the type of properties becoming available, their location and if they were in areas people wanted to live. The authority did however try to match properties to people in areas to which they had a connection, but they may not always be suitable.
The Committee was also advised that the data detailed within the report related to the period October 2022 to March 2023 where the Head of Housing had been granted powers to directly match properties in certain circumstances. The new Policy, introduced in April 2023, would allow the service to directly match all tenants in Bands A and B which would see a reduction in the level of housing being advertised.
· It was confirmed that all 4,500 on the Housing register had received communication detailing the change to the new Emergency Allocation Policy.
· It was confirmed that, currently, the housing division had sufficient resources to administer the new system following an increase in the numbers on the housing register from 4412 in October 2022 to 4551 on the 12th April 2022. Should circumstances change and additional resources were considered necessary, then a bid for those resources would be submitted in accordance with normal practice.
· With regard to the commissioning of rooms in hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation, it was confirmed that would be reduced wherever possible. The Committee was also assured that at the time of the report’s preparation no family with children were placed in such accommodation.
The Committee was also informed that where possible, the service would be moving away from the larger type hotels / Bed and Breakfast accommodation to smaller providers and the local member would be informed of that provision within their ward.
· Reference was made to an expectation by the Task and Finish Group for a reduction to occur in the number of people presenting as homeless. As that reduction had not occurred, an explanation was sought on whether there were any specific reasons for the current increase.
The Committee was advised there were a number of reasons for the increase which could be attributable to Welsh Government Regulations, the Renting Homes (Wales Act) together with the cost-of-living crisis. With regard to the Renting Homes Act, protection for existing tenants had been extended to the end of June 2023. Therefore, landlords could still issue Section 21 Notices up to the end of May. There was also a four-month backlog in the courts for Section 21 Notices which would see further notices being issued and people presenting as homeless.
· With regard to an increase in the number of people in Band A, that was attributable to those in Band B at risk of being made homeless being moved to Band A to facilitate their rehoming as soon as possible.
UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the monitoring report be received.