Draft for consultation A Review of Hostels and Supported Housing in the Greater Norwich Housing Sub Region

NORFOLK SUPPORTING PEOPLE AND NORWICH CITY COUNCIL Draft for consultation A Review of Hostels and Supported Housing in the Greater Norwich Housing Sub Region REVIEW AUGUST 2006 ROB COOPER & RUSSELL O KEEFE
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NORFOLK SUPPORTING PEOPLE AND NORWICH CITY COUNCIL Draft for consultation A Review of Hostels and Supported Housing in the Greater Norwich Housing Sub Region REVIEW AUGUST 2006 ROB COOPER & RUSSELL O KEEFE Introduction The Position Greater Norwich benefits from a strong and established voluntary sector in the provision of hostels and supported housing services for single homeless people. While these organisations are in no way homogeneous, they share common aspirations and experiences for example, within the national Supporting People programme framework and through their relations with statutory housing, health and social care commissioning agents. The providers are a diverse group of small to medium sized not-for-profit frontline service providers. They aim to offer appropriate effective and efficient services to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. They are well linked to local networks, communities and are close to the needs and aspirations of service users. The providers are able to address supply and service gaps with speed, flexibility and innovation and all work across multiple services, agencies and locations. They make a critical contribution to the Greater Norwich Sub Region, serving as a safety net in the support to and advocacy of, individuals and communities at disadvantage. They make an invaluable contribution to reducing rates of single homelessness. Contents Executive Summary 04 Section 1 Introduction 06 Section 2 Background 07 Section 3 Existing range of services 09 Section 4 Access to accommodation 13 Section 5 Planned move-on and resettlement 18 Section 6 Rules, exclusions & unplanned move-on 21 Section 7 Current position: gaps & overlaps 25 Section 8 Degrees of integration 29 Section 9 Good practice models in hostel provision 31 Section 10 Conclusion: findings and recommendations 34 Appendices Appendix 1 Survey methods 40 Appendix 2 Glossary of terms and acronyms 41 Contacts 42 Acknowledgements 42 Executive summary Greater Norwich Housing Sub Region SP funded Hostels and Move-on Supported Accommodation by District District Provider Primary Needs Group No of bedspaces Broadland House of Genesis Offenders 7 Broadland St Matthew Housing Single Homeless 17 Broadland Sub Total 24 Norwich Orwell Housing - Hinde House Single Homeless 31 Norwich St Edmunds Society Offenders 18 Norwich St Martin's - direct access Single Homeless 30 Norwich St Martin's - group homes Single Homeless 33 Norwich St Matthew Housing Single Homeless 49 Norwich Stonham Archway Young People 16 Norwich Stonham Aspland Road Young People 5 Norwich Stonham Ripley Single Homeless 12 Norwich Stonham Ripley move-on Single Homeless 4 Norwich Norwich YMCA Single Homeless 84 Norwich Norwich YMCA Young People 6 Norwich Sub Total 288 South Norfolk St Matthew Housing Single Homeless 62 South Norfolk Solo Housing - Victoria House Single Homeless 7 South Norfolk Stonham Wilkinson Single Homeless 9 South Norfolk Stonham Wilkinson move-on Single Homeless 8 South Norfolk Sub Total 86 The distribution of hostels and supported accommodation, as illustrated, is uneven. However, there are refuge, tenancy support and mental health accommodation support services available throughout the Sub Region. Currently, demand for hostel accommodation exceeds supply. Principally this is down to slow move-on from hostels due, for example, to the general shortage of affordable housing, a lack of emphasis on resettlement and a general failure to develop move-on options in the private rented sector. There is a lack of co-ordination in the hostel system. This means single homeless people often do not have adequate information about services and, due to high demand, have to make multiple applications to different providers. There is some evidence to suggest that there is a net influx of people into the Norwich hostels from other areas. Data also suggests that some of the people currently accommodated in hostels do not need the level of support provided there. At the same time, further work to ensure consistency of approach on their rules and polices relating to drugs, alcohol and exclusions is necessary. Appropriate support from organisations such as the Police, Probation Service, the DAAT and Space East is required to reduce the high number of exclusions on these grounds. There is also limited access to services for individuals with dual diagnosis, multiple needs, active substance misuse, a history of exclusions from hostel services, arson or sexual offences, wheelchair users and for 16 and 17 year old homeless people. Improved access to current services for these groups is necessary and where appropriate new specialist services need to be developed. To summarise, the current hostel system is fragmented with some unnecessary duplication of provision. Effective commissioning needs to be put in place to meet the current gaps in provision and aid the delivery of a co-ordinated, comprehensive and integrated system for the single homeless in Greater Norwich. 04 A hostel system is required that ensures that access arrangements are consistent and efficient, the range of needs are continually met, and the benefits of taking a coordinated approach to the provision of move-on accommodation becomes realised. Recommendations Short Term: Strategy: A Single Homeless Hostel Strategy needs to be developed and agreed to implement the urgently required remodelling and improvements in services in the Greater Norwich sub-region. Eligibility Criteria: There is a need for a review of the eligibility criteria providers use that ensures people with the greatest needs are being accommodated and those who do not need high levels of support are being accommodated in other ways. Better Information: Improvements in the promotion of services are required. With assistance from Supporting People and Space East, this might be partly achieved by the creation of a 24 hour phone line and website showing all vacancies in Greater Norwich. Standardisation: A common core application form and risk assessment/management tool should be developed. Increasing move-on from hostels the private rented sector: Statutory partners and providers need to work far more proactively at developing move-on options in the private rented sector. Increasing the involvement of service users: Some hostel providers need to put in place mechanisms for the involvement of their service users that place them at the core of their business, particularly in respect of the remodelling and development of services. Medium/Long Term: Central Gateway Hostels Access Service: Pilot a Gateway Service through which all applications are channelled. This service would take responsibility for initial assessment and referral within the system. This central service could be staffed by a multi-disciplinary team including housing advice, outreach services, substance misuse, domestic violence and mental health and would link closely with the sub regional floating support providers. The team would function as a clearing house for all allocations into the Greater Norwich hostels. Integrated Resettlement Team: Establish an Integrated Resettlement Team. This might sit either as part of the Gateway service or as a separate entity with strong links to both the Gateway Service and the generic floating support service. Remodelling and new development: Some remodelling and new development is required, particularly to ensure that there are (i) emergency supported accommodation services for young people aged (ii) adequate access within existing services for people who continue to drink or use illicit substances (iii) higher support services for people with entrenched patterns of drug and alcohol use. There are many examples of hostel services around the country that can work effectively with these individuals and allow them to stabilise their problems such as youth foyers for homeless teenagers. It is, therefore, essential that work is carried out by the GNHP Tackling Homelessness More Effectively Sub-Group to research and design new specialist hostel services that can be submitted in future capital and revenue funding bidding rounds to meet these needs. Resources: The prospects of increased resources for revenue funding through Supporting People in Norfolk are not optimistic. The issue about the redistribution of the national Supporting People grant is still to be resolved. Identified priorities for additional revenue arising from this Hostels Review will have to be weighed against the need and priority for any resources in other parts of the County. This report suggests there is scope to examine use of existing resources. The development and outcomes of the restructure of floating support services and a choice based lettings approach must be considered in terms of the relationship to integrated hostels services. Next steps/timescales: This draft document is intended for discussion and debate. We will organise a consultative event during a 12 week consultation phase around proposals for a hostels system. We will produce a final report in the light of feedback on the findings and recommendations of this report. We envisage the final report will be produced with a draft strategy and action plan by December We will seek the sign up of the Supporting People Commissioning Body, Norwich City Council, Broadland District Council, South Norfolk District Council, Space East, Norfolk County Council, Norfolk DAAT, the Probation Service and individual providers and other stakeholders to the strategy and action plan. Clearly, the knowledge and engagement of providers and their input into the development of the proposals is critical. At the same time the success of the proposals rests with the practicable application of the recommendations and the extent to which they ensure that the needs of service users are primary. 05 Section 1 Introduction In late 2004 Norwich City Council and the Norfolk Supporting People Team identified some areas for improvement about hostel provision in the city. It was agreed that these would be explored through a joint review of services. As there is an increasing expectation for housing issues to be planned and managed at a sub regional level, this review was extended to include services in Broadland and South Norfolk, the other two districts which make up the Greater Norwich Housing Sub Region. The report concentrates on hostels and linked second stage accommodation for people who have been homeless. It does not focus on specialist or targeted services such as those for people with serious mental health problems or refuge provision. This report is the culmination of the review work. It sets out findings from the review with proposals for change, which are linked to improved outcomes. The aim is to share these with all other key stakeholders and to reach consensus about how to improve upon existing hostel services in Greater Norwich. 06 Section 2 Background At the outset of this review a number of key areas were identified as needing to be explored. There was a growing body of evidence indicating that individuals faced increasing difficulties in their attempts to access hostel accommodation in the Norwich area. There was consensus that this was due to many of the hostels experiencing difficulties in accessing move-on accommodation for those residents ready to move-on to more independent living arrangements. Hostel beds were in some instances being blocked by those who no longer need a supported living environment. The issues of silting and bed blocking have been debated at length in the housing press. One report found that 46% of residents in a large sample of London hostels were unable to move-on from hostel placements even though they were ready to do so. 1 Another report by the Salvation Army found that 47% of residents in its hostels were ready but unable to move because there was insufficient move-on accommodation 2. Similar pressures have been identified in respect of Norfolk 3, Suffolk 4, Cambridgeshire 5, and Essex 6. There is evidence in Norwich to support the claim that certain individuals are more disadvantaged than others when attempting to access hostel accommodation, most notably those with substance misuse problems. This report examines the assertion that there is a growing population of individuals who, excluded from hostel provision, are unable to access the first rungs of the accommodation ladder towards independent living. These two elements were assumed to have contributed to the City s rough sleeping and hidden homeless populations. In the summer/autumn of 2004 numbers of rough sleepers in the city rose sharply, indeed on one particular night in September 2004, 17 individuals were found bedded down. Since then the City Council and its partners have made great efforts to tackle all form of homelessness through a range of prevention methods. This resulted in subsequent rough sleeper counts in March 2005 and December 2005 only finding 3 rough sleepers on each occasion. The DCLG (formerly the ODPM) highlighted the benefits of undertaking a strategic hostels review in potentially tackling rough sleeping in Norwich. Standards Required Supporting People and three district councils are required to ensure that accommadation provision for single homeless people meets support needs in a planned and comprehensive way. Drawing on Quality Assessment Framework standards produced nationally for Supporting People the DCLG has developed a set of detailed standards that should be attained by hostel providers 7. Some of the standards imply co-ordination between providers and relevant authorities. The standards that relate to access include requirements that: Clear referral arrangements with local authorities working with targeted client groups and procedures for identifying those who have priority A clear statement about which groups, if any, are excluded from access and why Applicants be screened and alternatives such as returning to previous accommodation or applying to the local authority are assessed Arrangements are made for daily notification of vacancies to referral groups in conjunction with other hostels Joint work is undertaken with other providers to ensure that some provision is available where alcohol use is permitted and drugs may be tolerated The standards relating to rules and exclusions include requirements that: Rules on drug use and penalties are agreed with the police There is a policy of no evictions at night except in emergencies There should be no evictions onto the street with procedures for referral to alternative accommodation for those excluded 1 'No Room to Move' Homeless Link, 'A Home For All - Homelessness policy challenges for Labour's Third Term' Salvation Army, 'Norfolk Supporting People Strategy' , 4 'A Matter of Substance', Spencer et al, Suffolk Supporting People, Feb 'The Housing Needs of People with Drug, Substance Misuse and Alcohol Problems in Cambs and Peterborough', Spencer et al, Oct 'Essex Supporting People Strategy 'Hostels Review Toolkit', DCLG, March Section 2 Background continued The standards relating to move-on services include requirements that: There are referral arrangements for residents to move-on to longer term and settled housing Active case management includes encouragement for residents to move when they have the skills to do so Tenancy support for people who have moved on should be provided in conjunction with other services What this Report considers Some of the work around move-on 'bottlenecks', referred to above, emphasises the importance for hostel provision in a given area to work as a whole system. This report considers the degree to which a hostels system can be said to exist in Greater Norwich. It examines the scale of integration over access to supported accommodation places, move-on accommodation, exclusions and planning to identify and meet needs. It makes judgements about the scope and benefits of developing a systematic approach to hostel provision in this Sub Region. The methods used in the review are outlined in Appendix 1 below. The aim of this review is to form the basis of a hostel strategy, which would include plans for the following: Ensuring sufficient hostel provision for those with substance misuse problems Ensuring adequate move-on accommodation for those ready to leave hostel accommodation Maximising the number of planned moves from hostel accommodation Minimising the number of unplanned moves Ensuring a co-ordinated and consistent approach to hostel provision is adopted, including clear access and referral pathways Ensuring hostel accommodation is targeted at those individuals who need it most In providing an overview and developing recommendations for change we have also made the following basic assumptions: People are different. The complexity of each individual's support needs will vary according to factors such as background, age, level of social skills, and existing social networks. Diversity of provision and of support is of key importance in meeting the varied and complex needs of single homeless people. Inherent within the value base of Supporting People is an assumption that support will be provided to enable individuals to live as independently as possible. The assumption that people want and should be enabled to live as independently as possible underpins the provision of Housing and Community Care services. Hostels and other staffed accommodation based solutions are relatively costly to provide and generally represent models in which support can be delivered more intensively when compared with community based solutions delivered to people in more independent accommodation such as tenancy support, floating support or resettlement support. On the basis of the values of independent living and the relative costs of provision it is important that there is some degree of planning and integration within the pattern of provision. A hostel system should be capable of housing those who need more support in higher support settings, diverting people with relatively lower support needs to less intensive support models and moving people on appropriately as their support needs change. 08 Section 3 Existing range of services Service provision for homeless people in the Greater Norwich Housing Sub Region The organisations, in the Sub Region, that provide hostels and related support services for single people are summarised below: St Martin's Housing Trust grew from the first night shelter established in Norwich in It now provides a range of services that include the hostel related schemes described below. Two of the hostels managed by the Trust are Registered Care Homes. The Trust also currently manages the CAPS team, (the Contact, Assessment and Prevention Service) which provides a contact engagement and diversion for rough sleepers, people following a street lifestyle and those at risk of sleeping rough. St Matthew Housing is a regional provider, formed in It provides a range of hostels, group homes and semi supported flats in Norfolk and surrounding counties. Stonham, a division of the Home Group Limited, is one of the largest providers of housing with care and support in England. There are three Stonham hostels in the Sub Region. The YMCA is a national provider with a 90 bed hostel in the centre of Norwich. In addition the organisation also runs a supported lodgings service for young people in housing need. Orwell Housing Association manages Hinde House in Norwich and other specialist services such as an additional domestic violence refuge in South Norfolk and Umbrella Housing for single parents. Solo Housing has for some years operated accommodation registers with landlords. The organisation also provides an advice and referral service. In addition Solo manages one small hostel for homeless men in Diss. There is some specialist accommodation in which single homeless people may also be supported. The other two providers in this survey, St Edmunds and House of Ge
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