To consider the offer of £399,255 in time limited grant funding from MHCLG / Homes England (Report of the Leader of the Council and Executive Director – Commercialisation (S151 Officer) enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the Leader of the Council and the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151 Officer) to consider the offer of £399,255 in time limited grant funding from MHCLG/Homes England.
The Executive Manager Governance clarified that at 5.6.1 the latest date or properties to be in SHDC ownership was 31 March 2021.
Members commented that council tax payers would be subsidising the occupants of the proposed units and should be made aware. Concerns were raised regarding the sourcing of properties across the district and whether Ward Members would be consulted based on their knowledge of their local areas. Members also commented on the importance of ensuring that units will be made available to local homeless people.
The Strategic Housing Manager advised:
• The subsidising of the units will be subject to financial modelling once properties have been identified and could potentially make a return on investment for the council.
• No properties had been selected yet and Ward Members would be consulted where possible (not on every property or suggestion due to timeframes of completing purchases).
• No firm decisions on the expected location of properties had yet been made. The Council was looking at property criteria in Spalding as one of the best areas due to proximity of services.
The Leader of the Council confirmed that Ward Members will be engaged in meaningful discussion when properties are submitted for consideration.
Councillor Gibson commented on the deadline date of 31 March 2021 not allowing officers a lot of time to deliver the outcome and Councillor Lawton clarified that the units must be available for occupation (not occupied) by that deadline.
• Would there be any consultation with residents of neighbouring properties to units selected and how would any anti-social behaviour or noise complaints be handled should they be forthcoming?
• How would external areas around the units be maintained?
• Would provision be made to support occupants of the units specifically surrounding issues with mental health/drug or alcohol abuse?
• Do the units have to be individual or could they be a collective unit?
• If an occupant is housed in a unit who then chooses to leave, what is the responsibility of the Council regarding a duty of care to that individual?
The Strategic Housing Manager responded:
• It is not intended that there will be any consultation with neighbours to units selected and that nuisance reports will be handled by a dedicated officer funded through the grant.
• The maintenance of outside areas will be the responsibility of the Council and will be factored into the financial business case.
• Support would be provided to residents but we are unable to comment on whether it would be specific to those issues.
• The Council was advised that upon submitting the bid it would be preferable to have disparate units across the district rather than one unit.
• The criteria for occupants moving in and moving on had yet to be devised. This was not accommodation provided under a statutory homelessness duty so if an individual chooses not to stay that will be their choice.
Members commented that other local authorities are doing the same and we should use them as examples and officers advised that they are happy to work with other local agencies and take advice and information on how the model works in other areas.
a) That the authority approves the receipt and spend of the MHCLG grant of £399,255, comprising £289,190 capital and £110,075 revenue, in time-limited funding in accordance with Financial Procedure Rule 3.8(h) and the necessary amendments to the budget required for this project.
b) That Council notes the requirement for additional funding of approximately £400,000 to support this programme of activity and that this will be funded from the Growth and Commercialisation – Acquisitions Fund on a case by case basis.