Somerset Homelessness Reduction Board – Better Futures For Single Homeless People
Somerset Strategic Housing Group secured LGA funding to improve partnership working around meeting the needs of vulnerable people. Associate, Lynn Collingbourne, was appointed to support the project and early discussions about the scope of the project. This resulted in a clear brief to focus on single homeless people experiencing multiple disadvantage.
Despite the initial setbacks due to Covid, the first phase was concluded on target with the partnership having a clear action plan and the LGA case study produced. We were invited back to support the delivery of the action plans due to capacity and the pressures inherent with preparation for the new unitary authority in April 2023.
Undeterred by the Covid-19 barrier to resolving the issues, we moved forward online, identifying ‘elephants in the room’ and the positive practice that existed in Somerset and elsewhere. We developed a draft vision based on ‘better futures’ case studies and engaged partners in clarifying the vision at an online workshop and subsequently facilitating tasks and finish groups to develop a six themed action plan to deliver the vision.
During phase two, we facilitated a co-production approach to ensuring the right accommodation and support was available for every individual presenting as homeless and those with whom the rough sleeping outreach teams had been able to engage. We led on an in-depth needs assessment of every individual in contact with ‘the system’ and identified the gaps that exist. A Commissioning Plan is under development for consideration by the new Council. We have also supported other theme leads to continue the partnership approach to ensuring the right solutions are found for each person, both at the start and throughout their journey towards independent housing.
Some quick wins were made during the first phase: as well as starting to unblock short term supported housing, new collaborative ways of working were piloted and built on the Homelessness Cell arrangements to develop a new governance structure to manage the delivery of our vision – the new Homelessness Reduction Board.
The second phase has seen the development of two Creative Solutions groups, engaging all partners in a holistic approach to supporting those with the most complex needs; a further improvement in successful move-on from supported accommodation and establishment of high level metrics to measure the success of the activity under the Homelessness Reduction Board, including the Better Futures Programme. The new Commissioning Plan will embed the range of services needed by the Better Futures cohort in longer, more robust contractual arrangements to ensure this success can be continued.