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Tackling and preventing repeat homelessness – lessons from research in Bradford . Sheila Spencer, HQN Sarah Possingham and Julie Parker, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council . The Bradford research . Why it was commissioned What it looked at Definitions Background

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tackling and preventing repeat homelessness lessons from research in bradford

Tackling and preventing repeat homelessness – lessons from research in Bradford

Sheila Spencer, HQN

Sarah Possingham and Julie Parker, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council

the bradford research
The Bradford research
  • Why it was commissioned
  • What it looked at
  • Definitions
  • Background
  • Methodology
why it was commissioned
Why it was commissioned

Purpose of the research

  • To understand the scale and causes of repeat homelessness in Bradford
  • To propose strategies for addressing the problem

Why it was commissioned

  • For some time Bradford Council had recognised that repeat representations to homelessness services & some groups’ exclusion from access to services was an issue
  • Successful application to fund Enhanced Housing Options Trailblazers programme from CLG & WNF presented an opportunity to commission research
the brief the key questions to answer
The brief – the key questions to answer
  • What has already been learnt about repeat homelessness and how is it addressed elsewhere?
  • What is the scale of repeat homelessness in Bradford?
  • What are the main causes of repeat homelessness, and which groups of people are affected most and why?
  • Which resources and services currently respond to and prevent repeat homelessness?
  • How can services be improved or re-designed to reduce the chances of people becoming homeless more than once?
  • How can agencies work together more effectively to reduce and prevent repeat homelessness?
  • How can repeat homelessness be best recorded and tracked in future, so that we can see if our policies have worked?
what did we mean by repeat homelessness
What did we mean by repeat homelessness?
  • Statutory homelessness re-presentations:
    • New definition, i.e. repeat presentation within 2 years of a previous duty being ended
    • Adverse decisions and abandoned applications, not just acceptances
    • People with repeated short term solutions
  • People not necessarily counted as homeless on both occasions - could be helped through advice or prevention work
  • People seeking help more than once from any service, not just statutory homelessness/housing options
methodology
Methodology
  • Literature and good practice review
  • Review of Bradford documents
  • Collect and analyse data
  • Snapshot survey
  • Review Housing Advice Service’s case notes and processes
  • Consult with service users (involved 5 peer researchers)
  • Consult stakeholders
research and good practice review
Research and good practice review
  • Little research into repeat homelessness, other than in Scotland
  • Scottish research pointed to problem most likely affecting single people
  • Solutions suggested (from Glasgow):
    • Homeless services keeping in touch with people even if they move around
    • Providing smaller scale supported accommodation
    • Support services offering help beyond sustaining a tenancy (holistic support)
    • Getting agencies together to look at how to help people with multiple and complex problems
research and good practice review cont d
Research and good practice review …(cont’d)
  • Little evidence so far of deliberate actions to reduce repeat homelessness or to track the problem
  • Good practice elsewhere in reducing repeat homelessness:
    • Specialist housing support, psychological services, befriending, and single access points into supported housing
    • Case management, reducing loss of supported housing
  • Existing good practice in Bradford:
    • About Turn
    • Tcoy
    • Tenancy-ready framework
    • Joint approaches on support schemes with mental health, substance misuse
    • Service user involvement
    • Bradford Cyrenians rough sleeping scheme
case stories
Case stories
  • Young woman thrown out by parents at age of 11, still homeless at 18 – will not accept hostel as a step towards resolving problem
  • Couple with children, homeless 4 times, violence involved on each occasion
  • Single parent homeless from parents’ as a teenager, later threatened with invalid notice from private rented flat
  • Single man, drug user, homeless many times, sometimes from settled housing, many times from supported housing, sometimes through choice
  • Woman fleeing violence from partner’s family, advised to go back, tried to patch it up but failed
  • Young man with multiple problems, linked to mental health of parents, unable to comply with rules within hostels
who is most affected
Who is most affected?
  • Single people with drug or alcohol problems/offenders
  • Young people who have been abused or who have been in care (including some under 16s)
  • Families with multiple problems
  • People with long-term mental health problems
  • Women who have been subject to domestic abuse/violence, and women escaping forced marriages
  • People involved in the sex industry
how many are affected
How many are affected?
  • Tiny number of cases using CLG definition (11)
  • Much larger number of people who receive more than one decision, or reappear following a prevention/options interview:
    • 362 homeless decisions for 169 households
    • 339 households made contact 706 times for prevention
  • 400 people(probably some overlap) appear more than once at day centres, supported housing, drug/alcohol/criminal justice, leaving care, or health services,at least300inlast two years
  • A significant number appeared to have lost homes on multiple occasions (up to 20 times)
most significant causes barriers to resolving housing problems service users experience
Most significant causes/barriers to resolving housing problems - service users’ experience:
  • Behaviour related to drug and alcohol problems
  • Not wanting to have to live in shared supported housing
  • Exclusion from social housing for rent arrears or a criminal record
  • Not being thought able to manage a tenancy
  • Being too young to hold a tenancy/enter supported housing
  • Losing private tenancies
  • Not having enough to do
most significant causes barriers to resolving housing problems other research findings
Most significant causes/barriers to resolving housing problems – other research findings
  • Housing advice / prevention / options services may find long-lasting solutions / prevention for priority needs groups but may not be so effective for non-priorities
  • It can be easy to lose contact with people whose homelessness can’t be resolved immediately – increases chance of repeat homelessness
  • Many rough sleepers have been repeatedly homeless
  • Services are mostly not geared up to tracking people reappearing as homeless, and investigating what can be done to break the cycle
  • Preventing homelessness will prevent repeat homelessness
which agencies can help
Which agencies can help?
  • Housing options/prevention – identify repeat presenters, patterns, causes, triggers, pathways, solutions
  • Supported housing – identify repeat visitors, and prevent exclusion, eviction, abandonment
  • Day/outreach services – being persistent about helping people to get into appropriate housing and support
  • Probation/YOT/DIP, social care, health – making appropriate referrals, sharing information, planning joint interventions, implementing protocols
  • Social housing providers – identify tenants at risk of losing their homes early enough to engage preventative help/support
breaking the cycle for people have already been homeless more than once
Breaking the cycle – for people have already been homeless more than once
  • Identify all those who have lost a temporary or settled home more than once
  • Explore patterns and what caused them
  • Ensure smooth access to appropriate supported/settled accommodation – minimise exclusion, eviction, abandonment
  • Involve other agencies working with repeat presenters, to explore causes and build a plan together
  • Identify and act on gaps or shortcomings in service provision
  • Good case management systems, tackling rough sleeping
  • Listen to service users, and to staff working with repeat presenters
planning to prevent repeat incidents for people who have been homeless just once
Planning to prevent repeat incidents for people who have been homeless just once
  • Identify triggers for homelessness and build support/personal housing plans to avoid any repetition
  • Develop enough provision and pathways so that accommodation is provided before a crisis is reached
  • Provide gate schemes, and out-of-hours services for non-priority groups
  • Help people who are non priority or intentionally homeless to find long-lasting solutions
  • Ensure that person is fully prepared for and supported into next step (especially moving to settled housing)
  • Identify people at risk, before they move on/in
  • Provide holistic support packages
slide19

Planning to prevent repeat incidents for people who have been homeless just once …(cont’d)

  • Make sure referrals can be responded to speedily
  • Providers geared up to reporting gaps and overloads
  • Criminal justice, health, social care, drug/alcohol treatment services working with others as soon as housing problems become apparent
  • Efficient sharing of information
  • Services which identify and work with anyone coming onto the street, aiming to resolve housing problems
  • Good resources for supporting and advising private tenants who might be at risk of losing tenancies
  • Adequate training in preventing homelessness for staff across the board
what would make the most difference service user view
What would make the most difference – Service user view
  • Being able to get into the right supported housing in the right place
  • Helping people with debt and other financial problems
  • Equipping people with the skills to manage their home
  • Preventing the loss of private tenancies, through negotiating longer tenancies, and providing good advice and advocacy
  • Providing caring and effective housing advice/options/ prevention services
  • Helping people to keep occupied (links to engagement, education, training, employment)
other critical interventions
Other critical interventions
  • Emergency beds
  • Good publicity about who does what, and how to refer in (and/or single access points for temporary accommodation)
  • Supported housing schemes for the most chaotic households – including couples, families, and sex workers
  • Good risk assessment and risk management policies – not risk averse, or based on long-past behaviours
  • Provide furniture packs, with cookers and other essential items
  • Rent deposit/guarantee schemes for non-priority/excluded households
  • Effective work between mental health, drug/alcohol and housing teams
other learning points from the research
Other learning points from the research
  • Still very hard to measure the extent of repeat homelessness – different definitions, access points, and identifiers
  • Need to seize opportunity for change - have we been inured to it in the past?
  • Peer research needs local support, and the research question needs to be set out clearly
  • Important to measure crossing of LA boundaries, and back, but is S P data accurate?
  • Comparing S P CRF and outcomes data would have been very useful – but lack of NI as an identifier hampered this
  • Tracking people through different types of provision would make big difference – as in rough sleeping case management systems
  • Taking on the ethos of the Places of Change agenda would help
what is being done in bradford
What is being done in Bradford?
  • Enhanced Housing Options Trailblazer Authority jointly funded by CLG & WNF locally
  • Partnership with Probation, Incommunities, DWP/Economic Development, Connexions and local authority
  • Integrating workstreams: homelessness and worklessness
  • Total Place pilot: three groups, offenders, young people at risk/care leavers and older people
  • Drug Systems Change pilot
  • PSA 16 dedicated workstreams for vulnerable groups, mental health, leaning disabilities, young care leavers and offenders
what these programmes are focussing on
What these programmes are focussing on
  • New integrated housing options service from three hubs: Open Moves delivered by partner agency Incommunities
  • Housing options outreach service in Probation hub & court setting
  • Young people: new service (Tcoy) for all under 25s with a housing need, with specialist partner agency (Bradford City Centre Project) and Connexions-now in partnership with CYPS (G v Southwark)
  • New housing allocations policy-needs based-4 bands
  • Supported employment services (Business Action On Homelessness-ready for work programme) & literacy and numeracy training, self esteem/confidence building work
  • Partnerships with Supporting People- New streetwork services & mental Health and housing team
  • Increase in Family Intervention Project spaces across city
what next
What next?
  • Systems mapping as a result of cold weather provision to identify barriers and ‘buy in’ to services from providers and users
  • Formal implementation integrated into work programme for Strategic Homelessness Core Group
  • Composite action planning to manage the ‘whole’ rather than isolated ‘parts’
  • Relationship to Homelessness Strategy priorities, through to Joint Housing strategy and LAA targets (PSA 16)
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