A report from Joanna Roberts (Commissioning Manager) is attached. This is a Joint Item with members of the People Scrutiny Commission.
Joanna Roberts gave a presentation on the above issue and made the following points:
(1) A Positive Pathway was being developed to allow Young People of to stay living in family networks between the ages of 16 and 21 and up to 24 if they had a learning disability;
(2) The pathway included details of the process and the commissioning arrangements;
(3) An analysis of the plan set out the key issues involved – shortage of affordable housing, benefit changes, increasing numbers of teenagers coming into care, a fragmented approach and supply not being linked to need;
(4) The 5 stages of the Pathway were set out – Minimising demand, reducing demand and crisis, the Youth Housing Hub acting as a gateway, supported accommodation and flexible support and settled accommodation
(5) There needed to be realistic expectations amongst young people as to what could be provided;
(6) Details of the proposed Youth Housing Hub were set out. A great deal of development work on this was currently taking place. Its estimated timescale for operation was August/September 2017;
(7) Details of the Central Youth Specialist Co-Located Team were set out – including information about multiple front doors and preventative work with the family;
(8) Details of the various proposed accommodation and support services were set out, including short-term and emergency, high support plus, high support, medium support, low support and young parents supported accommodation
(9) Low level support could also include specific support such as for mental health.
The Chair indicated that he had requested that the notes of the Youth Council meeting held on Wednesday 26th October 2016 be attached to these draft Minutes Action: Lucy Fleming/Jeremy Livitt
In response to members’ questions, officers and the Cabinet Member for Homes made the following points:
(10) There was information currently available to Young People but it was often not as clear as it needed to be – information needed to be available through schools via social media and other digital means
(11) It was acknowledged that the RIFE online magazine was a valuable source for Young People and helped to provide youth links;
(12) Concerns about gaps or mismatch in the support were noted – a range of different organisations could help with this;
(13) The Council’s lettings policy was being reviewed in relation to shared accommodation. There needed to be an analysis as to whether or not tenancies were being provided to certain individuals before they were able to manage. A review of the different types of providers was required;
(14) Members’ concerns were noted about the need for an approach to be set out to tackle homelessness. It was acknowledged that the number of people in temporary and emergency accommodation was at far too high a level. Measures needed to be taken to get Young People to come forward and present for housing provision at an earlier stage. In view of the mismatch between demand and availability, the system needed to change to make prevention and early intervention far more of a reality than at present;
(15) It was acknowledged that the Council’s presence in schools was almost non-existent and frequently information from other sources was used. There was often an unrealistic view about what accommodation the Council could provide for Young People who could no longer lived at home;
(16) The best traditional route for identifying need in this area was the youth service, not teaching in schools – although teachers could be primed to give support. It was important to engage with groups who could provide this;
(17) Officers acknowledged that there were currently no plans to help care leavers who moved out of Bristol. Action: Joanna Roberts to investigate this
(18) It was noted that there were issues in wards which bordered other Local Authorities (ie Hillfields) in ensuring adequate communication between them;
(19) Members’ concerns were noted about the use of private companies and the need for different agencies to work together;
(20) It was acknowledged that further work was needed in respect of a comprehensive database of families to identify people who were missing and/or run away, as well as other groups such as asylum seekers and unaccompanied children;
(21) It was noted that there were key issues to consider, such as prevention and support for families, different ways of working including a more localised approach where required and the need for the hub to play a central role in information being fed through it.
Resolved – that the report be noted and the actions set out above be taken.