London Borough of Barnet SELHP – Workshop Presented by Shaun Flook (Homeless Person’s Manager) & Shahela Begum (Visiting Team Leader)
Introduction The London Borough of Barnet is highly regarded by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) (previously known as the ODPM). This recognition has led the ODPM to commend the London Borough of Barnet for its good practice in visiting homeless applicants before a crisis arises or before a decision is made. We are quoted about this in an ODPM Good Practice Handbook called “Reducing B&B use and tackling homelessness – what’s working?”
Barnet Background (1) • Largest Borough in London spatially (one of largest in England) • 2nd highest populated borough in London (324,000 people – 26% BME) • 2400 households in TA – 2010 target!!! • Massive regeneration schemes • One Visiting & Verification Team Leader • Three Officers (soon to be five with two funded by ODPM grant) paid at £24k-£26.4 • In excess of 1500 visits carried out per annum
Barnet Background (2) • Problem with unsuccessful visits • Homeless visits –prevention /assessment/options (PST, DHP etc) • Register visits – CBL shortlisted bidders, highly pointed bidders & non-bidders • Audits – e.g. Homeless at Home (50 visits recently carried out which led to 40 cancellations), TA occupancy/options advice
Workshop 1 (15 mins) What are the advantages of visiting people in housing need in their own homes over doing everything from the office?
Workshop 2 (15 mins) What measures can we take to ensure staff’s safety when visiting applicants within their homes?
Recognising support needs Environmental Health Issues Identifying Abuse (Child, DV) Detecting multi-agency Fraud Homeless Prevention with the excluder Housing Options ‘Mediating’ with the applicant and excluder Non-bidders – identify the most vulnerable and meet their needs (bid for them), identify non-occupancy, educate the customers. Promoting the Housing Register as a viable option where applicable. Homeless at home - agreeing and monitoring 2010 TA target Feedback on Workshop 1
Personal alarms – pros and cons ‘Buddying’ Accurate & comprehensive referral systems Pre-visit checks – support worker, CMHT/CPN, file, computer systems Monitoring – visiting diary, white board Training – Suzy Lamplugh Trust etc Procedures – updated regularly RockSafe ID Card Personnel Safety System Accompanied visits (2 VO’s or 1 VO and allocated support worker Violence at work – recording, debriefing, counselling, informing internally and externally Mobile phones with speed dial buttons – pros and cons Feedback on Workshop 2
Conclusion • Is it worth investing in home visits? • If so, how can you fund them? • Spend to save against TA budget? • DCLG (ODPM) grant? • Secondments? • Restructure?
Other Information • Any borough wishing to know more about Barnet's approach to Discretionary Housing Payments, which is to deal with them solely within the Homelessness Department instead of Housing Benefit, should phone Sheila Meadows (Housing Options Team Leader on 020 8359 4254) or Evelyn Flook (DHP Officer on 020 8359 4577) on a Monday or Tuesday. • Any borough wishing to know more about the ID Badges spoken about during the presentation can look at the following website www.peoplesafe.co.uk