Following on from a Peer Review in 2015, the Housing Team recently received an award at the National Practioners Homeless Conference for successfully achieving their first Gold Standard challenge!
Their first challenge was evidence that our homelessness strategy proactively seeks to prevent homelessness and responds to emerging needs.
The Gold Standard is a series of 10 challenges that the local authority will undertake to demonstrate that we have an effective and proactive homeless and housing advice service that is committed to continuous improvement and implements best practice. The challenges look at all aspects of the service and includes: demonstrating a corporate commitment to homelessness; having a No Second Night Out model for Rough Sleepers; and no placement of 16/17 year olds in B&B. The team hope to have achieved all 10 challenges by the end of 2017.
They are one of only 44 authorities in the Country to successfully complete a challenge. It is their mission to achieve Silver standard.
Welfare Reform Support Project
The council's Housing Services and Housing Benefit teams have worked together to develop a project to assist those households who are experiencing financial hardship due to the introduction of welfare reforms. Following a recent procurement process we are delighted that Horton Housing were successful in their tender to deliver this project for the next 3 years. The project briefly comprises of:
- Welfare Reform Support Worker - receiving referrals from Craven District Council and working with singles and families at risk of homelessness who approach the council for financial assistance, demonstrate a pattern of non-engagement with services and have medium to high support needs.
- Universal Credit programme of support to help households in need of advice and assistance to equip them with the information & skills to manage their finances following a claim for Universal Credit.
The work of this project has been particularly useful in providing us with a resource to fulfil our commitment to support households affected by Universal Credit (UC). Working with our Housing Benefit team and staff at the Job Centre-Plus offices in Skipton we have developed a referral process as part of our Universal Credit Delivery Partnership Agreement to ensure a joined-up and supportive response for new UC claimants.
Private Rented Lettings Project
The Council's Housing Services, a private rented sector landlord and local lettings agent work together to provide 5 units of one-bed accommodation to clients nominated by the Housing Options team. The Homelessness Review carried out in 2014/15 identified a rising demand for one-bed accommodation and action was required to secure this type of accommodation. The project briefly comprises of:
- 5 x Units of one-bed accommodation - self contained units within terraced property in Skipton
- Sensitive Lettings - nominations made by the Housing Options team and selected from households who are either in employment or are over the age of 35 years. The aim of the sensitive lets policy is to reduce the risk of anti-social behaviour and tenancy failure due to affordability issues.
- Tenancy - the landlord agrees to offer a 12 month assured short hold tenancy with a break clause after 6 months.
This project provides the Housing Options team with a valuable resource to assist households accessing our service into accommodation.
Members approved our partnership arrangement with Leeds City Credit Union (LCU) in August 2015 and funding to promote their services to people who live and/or work in Craven until September 2018. Following a procurement process Horton Housing won the contract to employ a dedicated part-time Project Delivery Worker, Margaret Parker. Margaret works part-time as the Welfare Reform Support Worker and the additional hours to undertake promotion of the LCU is an ideal accompaniment to her existing role. She has already built up relationships with key partners and works one to one with households experiencing financial difficulties - she is able to build upon this role to promote LCU services.
The Project Delivery Worker also works in partnership with Yorkshire Housing who promote Leeds City Credit Union services to their tenants and the South Skipton Project which works with the community in the Greatwood and Horse Close area of Skipton.
During 2015 we promoted LCU's Payroll Deduction scheme to employees of Craven District Council and raised awareness with partners of the availability of LCU services to Craven residents and people who work in our district
During 2016 the Project Delivery Worker is focusing on launching LCU services to the public and in particular promoting the LCU Christmas Saver account and loan offer.
To find out more, please contact the Project Delivery Worker Margaret Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org