Agenda item


Report to follow


The Board was provided with an update on the impact on housing demand due to Covid 19.


It was explained that in the last briefing the impact COVID 19 had on homelessness demand was identified. It was highlighted that in 2020 between August and November an increase of 29% to 63% in homeless approaches on the previous year was experienced and this lead to inflated expenditure in the Find-Your-Own (FYO) rent deposit scheme where the highest spend at that time reached £118,000 in a single month.


It was advised that the envisaged continuation of the upward trend in homelessness approaches for the foreseeable future could lead to additional cost pressures due to the requirement for placement in temporary accommodation. There was also a risk to the current rate of prevention of homelessness and these numbers continued to follow that trend (see background papers *Homeless approaches in numbers Jan 22).


It was outlined that it was imperative to continue to develop the service and provide as many pathways to appropriate and suitable accommodation as possible. The position now, since the report was released, was that the homeless challenge had become even more acute; particularly for single people with complex needs. 


Furthermore, the main cause of homelessness in Havering were identified as family and friend exclusion. However, during the pandemic there were higher rates of exclusions of single people, now understood and categorised as the hidden homeless population. Households were evicting their adult children as they were no longer able to cope due to the extended time spent in the home as a result of the lockdown restrictions which heightened tensions and exacerbated mental health and substance misuse.


It was explained that the service continued to effectively address homelessness by supporting households to remain in their accommodation or find somewhere to live before they hit a crisis point and faced bailiff eviction. They were provided with financial support, debt advice or signposted to other statutory and voluntary agencies for assistance.


Data around domestic abuse suggested that the housing pressures on domestic abuse households in London have perhaps never been higher. The pressure increased as a result of COVID-19 where Table 2 and 3 (attached in background papers *Homeless approaches in numbers) highlighted 2020/21 domestic abuse approached over the last year with the trend in the previous year included for context.


Homeless approaches as a result of domestic abuse has risen from 77 in 2019/20 to 226 in 2020/21. That was a 194% increase on the previous year. Domestic abuse was the third highest cause of homelessness and pressure to deliver high quality casework had increased with MARAC referrals had increased.


Comments were made around the positive progress being made but there was a requirement for collaborative and collective bespoke support along with adequate funding from various partners.


It was also suggested that any of these discussions should be included in the refresh of the HWBB agenda in the summer 2022 and that the high impact of family homelessness should be a key focus and priority.


The Board noted the information on the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) of the homeless challenges.






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