Tackling and preventing repeat homelessness lessons from research in bradford
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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 l.jpg

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 l.jpg
The Bradford research research in Bradford

  • Why it was commissioned

  • What it looked at

  • Definitions

  • Background

  • Methodology

Why it was commissioned l.jpg
Why it was commissioned research in Bradford

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

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The brief – the key questions to answer research in Bradford

  • 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?

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What did we mean by repeat homelessness? research in Bradford

  • 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

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Methodology research in Bradford

  • 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

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Key findings research in Bradford

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Research and good practice review research in Bradford

  • 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

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Research and good practice review research in Bradford …(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

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Case stories research in Bradford

  • 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

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Who is most affected? research in Bradford

  • 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

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How many are affected? research in Bradford

  • 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)

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Snapshot survey results research in Bradford

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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

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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

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Which agencies can help? problems – other research findings

  • 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

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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

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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

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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

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What would make the most difference – Service user view been homeless

  • 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)

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Other critical interventions been homeless

  • 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

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Other learning points from the research been homeless

  • 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

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What is being done in Bradford? been homeless

  • 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

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What these programmes are focussing on been homeless

  • 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

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What next? been homeless

  • 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)