This is an online synopsis of the topic which shows the executive summary and key contacts sections. To view the full document, please download it.
|Topic title||Homelessness (2013)|
|Topic author(s)||Grace Brough, Gary Harvey, Rachael Shippam|
|Insight Document ID||63657|
The threat of homelessness remains an issue for an increasing number of citizens in Nottingham.
Homelessness can be defined as: a lack of (or imminent threat of a lack of) safe, secure accommodation that is appropriate to the household’s needs.
It is this definition that is used throughout this chapter when we refer to homelessness.
Homelessness can be caused by personal circumstances such as relationship breakdown, family unwilling to accommodate, debt, addiction and substance misuse. Homelessness can also be a consequence of external environmental factors such as a lack of affordable housing and difficult housing market conditions, a strained economic climate and policy reforms with knock on effects on welfare, poverty and unemployment.
The occurrence of many of these environmental factors in Nottingham is common. For example:
The consequences of homelessness will often go beyond the immediate impact and have a lasting and negative impact on the lives of individuals and their families. This can exacerbate the original cause of homelessness and/or contribute to the onset of new problems (e.g. physical health problems, mental health issues and addictions). Homelessness also impacts on the wider community. Homelessness in general may contribute to destabilising housing markets and have a detrimental effect on the local economy and visible forms of homelessness can damage the reputation and perception of an area.
The impact of homelessness on health can be stark; with Crisis reporting the difference in life expectancy for a homeless person compared to someone who is not homeless is 30 years, at an expected age of mortality of 47 for a rough sleeping homeless person.
Nottingham City Council has a statutory duty under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 to provide advice and assistance to those who are homeless or threatened with homelessness. In addition, the local authority has a duty to provide temporary accommodation to those whom it is reasonable to believe are homeless and likely to be assessed as having a priority need1. Where citizens meet the relevant further criteria under this Act, Nottingham City Council has a duty to provide an offer of long term suitable accommodation in addition to temporary accommodation and advice and assistance.
1. Priority need refers to categories of vulnerability as defined in the Housing Act 1996, Part VII and amended by the Homelessness Act 2002
In 2012 – 13, Nottingham City Council Housing Aid service assisted an average of 61 households every day and throughout the course of the year the Street Outreach Team worked with 787 Rough Sleepers.
Given the cross cutting nature of homelessness there are links between this chapter and several others covered elsewhere in the JSNA:
• Adult Mental Health
• Adult Problem Drug Use
• Domestic Violence
• Asylum Seekers/Refugees/Migrant Workers
• Teenage Pregnancy
• Demand on capacity of services is increasing and predicted to rise further as government austerity measures continue to be implemented and the affects impact on citizens
• Agencies and services outside of the homelessness sector should widen their understanding of the effects of homelessness and how they can identify their opportunity to make ‘contact count’ and intervene early to prevent homelessness happening
• Widespread marketing of homelessness prevention services and information on support available is required to ensure more citizens can access help before they reach crisis.
• Higher rents in emergency accommodation due to exemption for rent restrictions leave residents feeling they are dis-incentivised to work and that work whilst in this accommodation leaves very little disposable income.
• Mental health support needs are becoming increasingly prevalent amongst homeless service users.
• There is an over representation of Eastern European people (particularly Polish) in the rough sleeping population
• It is unclear how the Health and Wellbeing board intends to have a relationship with housing and health
• There is not sufficient representation from housing and homelessness on the city’s Safeguarding Boards
Grace Brough, Insight Officer, Nottingham City Council
Gary Harvey, Head of Housing Solutions, Nottingham City Council
Rachael Shippam, Senior Housing Partnership Officer, Nottingham City Council email@example.com