Skip to main content

Preventing homelessness and rough sleeping in Plymouth 2019-2024


Welcome to Plymouth City Council’s Strategic Paper on Preventing Homelessness and Rough Sleeping in Plymouth 2019 – 2024

This pulls together statements from our Strategic Policy and delivery documents on rough sleeping and homelessness for ease of use.

Homelessness is a reality faced by many more people than we would want. This can happen for a variety of reasons and often with circumstances out of the control of those involved. Plymouth recognises that in a time of crisis people are often more vulnerable and there is a need to ensure the right support is available at the right time to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping wherever possible.

It is clear that austerity has had an impact on households in Plymouth. National policy in some areas such as Welfare Reform has made homelessness and Rough Sleeping more prevalent. That alongside the issues becoming more complex therefore means the response can’t be tackled alone. Dependency, Mental Health, employment and other factors all mean our work is part of a much broader systems approach.

Plymouth City Council appreciates that strong partnership working is a key factor to preventing and reducing homelessness and has demonstrated this through our commitment to the city-wide Plymouth Plan. The Plymouth Plan is our overarching strategic plan for the city which sets the shared strategic direction of the city for the long-term future. The plan, is not just the Council’s plan but is owned by a number of partners within the city and outlines the importance of committing to the delivery of sustainable development and the need to deliver a city of sustainable linked neighborhoods.

This document sets out how Plymouth will deliver against the City Strategy the Plymouth Plan to prevent and reduce homelessness and rough sleeping. It delivers against policy HEA8 of the Plymouth Plan and against sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Plan for Homes 3 in a fight to end homelessness.

We would like there to be no homeless people in Plymouth. Over the last few years as a city, we have done some great work to prevent and reduce homelessness, we know there is lots more to do but with our record of partnership working and the priorities set out I am confident that we can continue to make an impact and improve the lives of vulnerable people.

Councillor Chris Penberthy,


This document builds on the good work that has taken place in the city over the last few years.

In accordance with the Homelessness Act 2002(as amended), we have carried out a review of homelessness to determine if the existing strategy and delivery plan are meeting the needs of the city, and that together with partners we are prepared to deal with current and future challenges.

We have done this by reviewing the data to identify any gaps or unidentified need that is not already being addressed by the actions we are taking as a Local Authority, or those being undertaken by our partners. We have done this within the context of local, regional and central government policy and legislation.

This work then ensures that all partners are working to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping by tackling the root causes of homelessness, providing pathways out of homelessness and ensuring we are developing more specialist accommodation for the most vulnerable.

Over the last four years Plymouth has systemically changed the way that it works with partners to try and meet the needs of the most vulnerable in the city.

We have developed our strategic priorities through various conversations, meetings and have consulted with:

  • People with lived experience of homelessness;
  • Elected Members;
  • Partner organisations, including the third sector;
  • Members of the Plymouth Housing Services Partnership, Plymouth Private Rented Partnership and the Plymouth Housing Development Partnership

Preventing Homelessness and Rough Sleeping is a broad set of challenges and the solutions are often complex. For that reason this has to be considered in the context of wider national and local policy, and has to be seen and understood alongside various other local strategies and plans. Some of those strategies and plans are set out:

Plymouth Plan 2019 – 2034

The Plymouth Plan is Plymouth’s single, integrated and holistic strategic plan which includes the Plymouth policy elements of the statutory Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan.This strategy brings together all aspects of housing in an attempt to tackle both place and people based issues in a holistic way: the quantity and quality of housing in the city and the wider social issues that can lead to housing issues and homelessness.

Policy HEA8 - Meeting local housing needs is the main policy developed to address issues surrounding homelessness. It seeks to ensure that everyone has access to a decent, safe and affordable home, which is suited to their needs, promotes health and is located in a community where they want to live and puts an emphasis on preventing homelessness.

Plan for Homes 3

This high level plan sets out our priority objectives across three themes that will directly support the delivery of 5,000 new homes over the next five years. It sets out to support a range of housing delivery and service initiatives, whilst also tackling housing needs, homelessness and poor housing conditions.

The Plymouth Alliance Accommodation and Homelessness Prevention Strategy 2019-24

A partner strategy that sets out the direction of travel of the Plymouth Alliance over the next five years and will support some of the decision making in the city to support prevention of homelessness and the future shape of services in the city.

Corporate Plan

The corporate plan sets out the Council’s vision to be one of Europe’s most vibrant waterfront cities, where an outstanding quality of life is enjoyed by everyone.The Council aims to do this by being a growing city and a caring council by focusing

on delivering a broad range of homes, keeping children, young people and adults protected and by focussing on early intervention and prevention.

Allocation Policy

Allocations for affordable housing in Plymouth are managed through Devon Home Choice, a Policy that covers the whole of Devon. Whilst a core aim of Devon Home choice is to provide choice in the allocation of Social Housing in Devon, it also needs to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in Plymouth including those who find themselves homeless or at risk of homelessness.


National Context Welfare Reform

Over the last few years there have been increasing pressures on low income families following welfare changes, that have both affected their incomes and limited the amount of benefit payable towards housing costs.

There are a number of Welfare Reforms that have impacted homelessness examples are set out below:

  • Local Housing Allowance (LHA) reductions including total LHA caps and the limiting of LHA to the 30th percentile of market rents, combined with the fact that LHA rates have been frozen for four years until 2020.
  • The Total Benefit Cap limiting maximum benefits that a family can receive per week, with the benefit removed from housing benefit payment towards rent.
  • Single Room Rate and the difficulty that people under the age of 35 find in affording suitable one bedroom accommodation.
  • Introduction of Universal Credit which provides a single stream-lined benefit paid to residents directly rather than to their landlords.

As a consequence Homelessness has been on the rise across the country for the last few years.

Rough Sleeping - the most visible form of homelessness - has been increasing nationally over the last few years. The number of Rough Sleepers recorded nationally in 2016 was 4,134. In 2017 this rose to 4,751, a rise of 15 per cent.

Statutory Homelessness Applications across the country have been rising, however in 2016/17 there was a reduction of 3.7 per cent. With this reduction in applications comes a reduction in the number of households accepted for the main housing duty, i.e. those people the local authority has a duty to find long term permanent accommodation for. The number of acceptances has reduced nationally from 14,760 a quarter in 2016 to 14,473 in 2017, a reduction of 2 per cent.

Homelessness Reduction Act 2017

On 3rd April 2018, Homelessness legislation changed with the introduction of the new Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) 2017.

The aim of the new Act is to reform the homelessness duties placed on local authorities to ensure that households at threat of homelessness receive help more quickly. The HRA amends Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 in order to:

  • Create a stronger advice and information duty, as the previous legislation provided very little detail about what actions local authorities need to undertake.
  • Create a stronger prevention duty, for anyone who is threatened with homelessness and eligible for assistance, to ensure that homelessness is tackled at the earliest point.
  • Introduce a new relief duty for all eligible homeless people who have a local connection, so local authorities must take reasonable steps to secure accommodation regardless of priority need status.
  • Introduce a new duty to provide emergency accommodation for homeless people with nowhere safe to stay, for up to 28 days so they are not forced to sleep rough.
  • Incentivise people to engage in prevention and relief work, by allowing local authorities to discharge prevention and relief duties if an applicant unreasonably refuses to cooperate with the course of action that they and the staff within the homelessness team have agreed to undertake.
  • Introduce a right to judicial review, at the prevention, relief and main duty stages to ensure local authorities can be held to account.
  • Collect data, in order to monitor the overall effectiveness of the new legislation.
  • Explore options for further enforcement, such as through the creation of a regulator of housing and homelessness services.

Local Context

Plymouth is Britain’s Ocean city with ambitious plans to be one of Europe’s most vibrant water front cities. Plymouth is one of the largest cities on the south coast and the fifteenth largest city in England. With a travel-to-work area bringing in over 100,000 people, a tourist industry drawing in more than five million visitors, and approximately 26,000 students, the city is a significant economic and cultural centre which also enjoys a thriving evening and night time economy.


Plymouth has a current population of 263,070 and this is estimated to grow to around 274,300 by 2034, a projected increase of 4.3 per cent. Due to approximately 26,000 students residing in the city, the percentage of 18 to 24 year olds (12.2 per cent) is higher than found in England as a whole (8.7 per cent).

There will be a major shift in the population structure of Plymouth over the next 20 years as the proportion of the population aged 65 and over increases and the population aged 0 to four year’s decreases. ONS projects a rise in the percentage of the 65 and over population locally in this age group, from 17.9 per cent in 2016 to 22.7 per cent by 2034. An ageing population suggests an increasing need for care and support services and has an implication for the future housing needs of the city.

Health and Wellbeing

The city’s health outcomes are significantly worse than the England average as measured on 15 of the 32 health indicators in the annual Health Profile. Life expectancy in Plymouth has improved for both males and females in recent years however remains below the England average. Healthy life expectancy in Plymouth (the average number of years a person can expect to live in good health) is significantly lower than the England average for both males and females.

In terms of inequalities, the life expectancy gap between those living in the most deprived areas and those in the least deprived areas remains significant. Life expectancy in the most deprived group of neighbourhoods in Plymouth (at 78 years and two months) is four years and nine months lower than the least deprived group of neighbourhoods.

In 2017 there were over 26,500 people (aged 18 to 64) in Plymouth estimated to be suffering from common mental health problems including depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder. There has been an increase in the number of referrals to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Plymouth and service providers report an increase in the number of referrals as well as an increase in the complexity of children and young people’s needs and issues requiring attention. Hospital admissions of young people (aged 10 to 24 years) for self-harm in Plymouth are higher than the England average (706 per 100,000 population as opposed to 421 per 100,000 population).

Alcohol and drug (illegal and prescribed) dependence are significant issues for Plymouth. These dependencies are commonly associated with mental health problems, homelessness, and offending, and have negative impacts on families and children. Although Plymouth has a lower rate of alcohol related hospital admissions than nationally, the rate of admissions for alcohol specific conditions in under 18s stands at 47.3 per 100,000 population aged under 18 in Plymouth; a rate higher than the England average (32.9 per 100,000 population). Plymouth is estimated to have 1.58 per cent dependent drinkers compared to 1.26 per cent across the South West region and 1.39 per cent nationally.

Deprivation and Poverty

There is a long standing awareness of the deprivation that exists in Plymouth, which remains higher than the England average. Inequalities occur both geographically across the city, and within and across communities, with disadvantaged and marginalised populations most severely affected. One Lower Super Output Areas (LSOA), found in the St Peter and the Waterfront ward, falls within the most deprived one per cent in England.

The proportion of residents in Plymouth experiencing deprivation due to low income has increased in recent years.The number of LSOAs in the most deprived 10 per cent (income domain of the IMD) has increased from 12 in 2010 to 19 in 2015.1 These LSOAs have a combined population of 29,751 residents (11.5 per cent of the Plymouth population). In Plymouth, 7,308 children under the age of 16 (15.9 per cent of the total in this age-group) are living in income-deprived

households. When looking at individual neighbourhoods, more than eight out of 10 children in Barne Barton and more than seven out of 10 in Devonport are affected by income deprivation.

Whilst Plymouth has a lower rate of child poverty than some of its comparators, the extent is still significant. 19.6 per cent of Plymouth children live in poverty (10,610 children).

Plymouth, at 18.9 per cent (40,000 individuals), has a higher level of indebtedness than nationally (17.2 per cent) and is the third most indebted local authority in the South West. Relatively high levels of debt and housing affordability are a barrier to accessing housing.

Local Economy

Plymouth currently has a marginally higher employment rate than nationally (76.8 per cent compared to 75.1 per cent). However it is around productivity and its drivers where the city struggles (Plymouth’s GVA per hour worked stands at 83.7 per cent of the UK average).

The city remains a relatively low wage economy with a persistent pay gap between the city and the rest of the region and also the UK. Average weekly pay in Plymouth is £525 compared to £571 nationally. Also, Plymouth has an elevated number of people who are economically inactive due to long-term sickness (7.9 per cent of work age population compared to 6.1 per cent nationally). Lack of opportunity for wage growth and a lack of income resulting in poverty both lead to a city that is unfair for some and inclusive growth is an ongoing challenge facing the city.

Homelessness in Plymouth

The table below sets out the number of households per year over the last four years that have gone through various parts of the homelessness process.

15/16 16/17 17/18 18/19
Advice Casework 1557 1654 1869 2514
Statutory Homelessness Applications 698 804 985 1254
Statutory Homelessness Applications accepted as full duty 238 322 314 213
Homelessness Prevention (and Relief post April 2018) outcomes 1030 932 955 383
Rough Sleeper Numbers 12 20 26 23
Number of Vulnerable single people accepted as full duty 92 140 140 107

NB. Homelessness Reduction Act implemented in April 2018

The number of households approaching Plymouth City Council for advice around homelessness and being threatened with homelessness have been rising over the last few years. In 2016/17, we provided advice to 1,654 households and this rose to 1,869 in 2017/18. Numbers in 2018/19 rose to 2,514.

2,514 applicants presented for assistance between 1st April 2018 and March 31st 2019 of which 77 opted for advice service and chose not to complete an initial assessment. Of the remaining 2,437 applicants, 1,254 applicants met threshold for duties within the Homeless Reduction Act. 1,183 applicants did not continue with application or did not provide evidence to support eligibility or threat of homelessness or they were homeless. In light of these high numbers we have reviewed processes and provide additional support to assist clients in obtaining this.

During this time there has also been an increase in statutory applications in the last year (985 in 2017/18 compared to 804 in 2016/17) but there has been a reduction in the number of households accepted for the main duty (322 in 2016/17 compared to 314 in 2017/18). This has decreased as the new Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) primarily focuses on prevention and the requirement for applications to be in Relief Duty for 56 days prior to accepting Main Duty and some applicants disengaging prior to Main Duty decision. The additional administration work and increased duties have impacted the time taken to finalise Main Duty decisions.

In 2018/19 there are fewer recorded positive outcomes as this data is only representing actions undertaken by the Local Authority where previously, prior to the Homelessness Reduction Act, quarterly statistical returns included prevention work provided by our commissioned partners.

Rough Sleeper numbers in Plymouth have risen over the last few years, although there has been a small decrease at the most recent official count in November 2018 of 23 compared to 26 the year before.This is likely to be a result of commissioned work with partners under the Multi Agency Rough Sleeper (MARS) scheme to reduce street homelessness through a focused casework approach.

What are we already doing about it?

Alliance Model

Reflecting on the fact that Plymouth City Council commissions a broad range of statutory and non-statutory interventions for people who have support needs in relation to homelessness and may also have support needs around substance

misuse, mental health, offending and risk of exploitation it needed to find a new way to support people to find solutions.

Traditionally contracts have been commissioned in separate silos, often resulting in duplication, inefficiencies and poor outcomes for the person using multiple services. Transformational change couldn’t be achieved given the old configuration of contracts because of the following challenges:

  • A growing number of people experiencing addiction, homelessness, offending and poor mental health as a result of changes in welfare reform, under-funding and increasing health inequalities.
  • A broken system, with duplication, an inefficient use of resources, limited joined up working and poor access to mental health services and appropriate accommodation.
  • Challenges in relation to increases in complexity, issues accessing sustainable accommodation, disjointed working, safer information sharing, managing risks and missed opportunities for timely interventions.

Plymouth has worked to ensure that people experiencing multiple needs are supported by effective coordinated services and empowered to tackle their problems, reach their full potential and contribute to their communities. In order to achieve this it was agreed that an Integrated Substance Misuse, Homelessness and Offender System utilising an Alliance approach would be commissioned and Mental Health services would be aligned.

Using an Alliance model, the focus is on creating systemic change: changes to culture, funding structures, commissioning and policy that will support a new way of working. Together we will create a contractual environment where suppliers share responsibility for achieving outcomes and are mutually supportive, making decisions based on the best outcome for the individual using services.

The Alliance aims to improve the lives of people with complex needs by supporting the whole person to meet their aspirations, whilst also contributing towards national outcome targets in relation to statutory homelessness, children in care and care leavers, drug treatment, reoffending rates, preventing admissions to hospital and urgent care targets.

Plymouth City Council, in conjunction with partners and people who use services, have co-designed the future complex needs system as one which will enable people to be supported flexibly, receiving the right care, at the right time, in the right place. The new system has an integrated offer for people aged 16 or over with a housing or substance misuse related support need but who may also have mental health or offending support needs.

People using the system will be provided with brief interventions (such as advice and information) and ongoing support and treatment, access to a range of meaningful activities and group work, a variety of sustainable temporary and longer term accommodation and an opportunity to reduce social isolation.


The Plymouth Alliance has seven members; Bournemouth Churches Housing Association(BCHA), Plymouth Access to Housing (PATH), Shekinah, Hamoaze House, Harbour Trust, Livewell Southwest and the Zone. These providers have a wealth of experience across single homeless and substance misuse sectors locally.

The Plymouth Alliance has a small number of subcontracted partners who provide a range of supported lodgings, supported accommodation and leased properties. These partners adhere to the same principles as the Alliance to provide good quality, affordable and sustainable accommodation.

Plymouth City Council are also members of the Alliance Leadership team and are jointly responsible for making key decisions.

The Plymouth Alliance supports Plymouth City Council in fulfilling its duties under the Housing Reduction Act. Responsibility for the budget historically spent on emergency accommodation and associated risks now sits within the contractual financial envelope; the Plymouth Alliance have the ability to utilise this budget differently to reduce emergency placements and provide more appropriate accommodation.

The Plymouth Alliance Accommodation and Homelessness Prevention Strategy 2019-24

The Plymouth Alliance have a strategy which sets out their direction of travel for the next five years, with the overarching aims being to:

  • Increase access to good quality, safe and affordable independent accommodation for people with complex needs
  • End the use of bed and breakfast for families and young people (age 16/17) and reduce the use for single people
  • Prevent homelessness earlier by taking a proactive approach
  • Bring rough sleeping in Plymouth to an end by 2025, in line with the Government’s target
  • Reduce the reliance on large, accommodation based support services.

Existing Stock Profile

The Plymouth Alliance currently provides a range of accommodation options for families and single people, both owned and leased, with a support offer which varies from 24/7 on-site support to low level floating support. Currently they deliver in the region of 570 units of shared and self-contained units.

Type of property and support level available Support needs of customers Shared facilities/self- contained Total units
Properties of 11 or more units with 24/7 support on site High Shared 143 across three buildings
Properties of 10 units or below with 24/7 support on site High Shared 40
Host supported lodgings for young people High Shared 22
Leased HMO’s used as single temporary accommodation with floating support available Low - High Shared 43
Leased family units used as temporary accommodation (including PCC owned) with floating support available Low - High Self-contained 66
Move on or housing management only, floating support if required Low - Medium Shared and Self-contained 103
Units owned by the Alliance with floating support available Low - Medium Shared and Self-contained 162

Access to these units is predominantly via an Access to Accommodation Hub; this operates as a single referral process into the accommodation system where a person will be assessed and then allocated the most appropriate accommodation offer across all available options.

Moving forwards they are in the process of developing an integrated accommodation hub, which will provide housing related information and advice, assessments and allocations for accommodation and support.

The hub will be responsible for carrying out a single assessment and allocating accommodation placements and support, whether the placement is into temporary, supported or move on accommodation or floating support is provided to prevent homelessness. Phase one will deliver a daily service to single people aged over 18, with a later expansion to include young people and families.

Key delivery objectives:

Through delivering the key aims of the Strategy the Plymouth Alliance will:

  • Provide an integrated accommodation hub which provides advice, information, assessments and placements utilising a whole system approach
  • Increase preventative support to reduce the need for a costlier intervention
  • Increase the range of accommodation options available to people with complex lives, remodelling the majority of existing large buildings to better meet the needs of single adults, young people, couples and families
  • Operate a Housing led model (and for an identified small number of most complex individuals provide a Housing First approach)
  • Agree a policy framework that establishes a high tolerance drug policy/no eviction from the system policy
  • Reduce the use of emergency and temporary accommodation, moving people on more quickly where it is used
  • Increase access to more affordable and appropriate permanent accommodation, including private rented and social housing
  • Improve accommodation standards for people with complex needs, ensuring all of our supported accommodation services are positive, inspiring places to live and each service conforms to a Psychologically Informed Environment model
  • Ensure that support delivered within or into accommodation is trauma informed, moves with the person and isn’t attached to a building
  • Reduce / end Rough Sleeping
  • Reduce spend on inappropriate temporary accommodation such as B/B, reinvesting savings into services
  • Reduce delayed discharge from hospital as a result of no/inappropriate accommodation to be discharged to
  • Develop a range of assertive outreach services to engage with our most hard to reach residents in the city
  • Develop a costing based framework to track key cost activities and costs of accommodation delivery to identify efficiencies
  • Ensure people have access to meaningful activity, including promoting the use of day services and other community support.

Trauma Informed Approach

Plymouth is on a journey to become a trauma informed city; one that is;

“Safe and delivers Person Centred responses that are Kind; in which communities and professionals work Collaboratively with each other, and their services users; and are focused on Empowering and encouraging each other to innovate and transform culture.”

There has been growing evidence of the strong link between the experience of multiple childhood traumas and adverse outcomes in adulthood; ranging from offending to drug and alcohol misuse, poor mental health to homelessness.

Furthermore, research has identified the causal pathways to this; childhood traumas disrupt neurodevelopment, producing changes in the brain that then lead to social, emotional and cognitive impairment. Importantly though, this is far from

inevitable and there are protective factors that can prevent or reduce these adverse consequences.

Taking a population level trauma informed approach means looking at all stages of this; preventing traumas occurring in the first place, promoting protective

factors for all children, recognising the behaviours that may be the result of trauma and intervening appropriately, and helping people who are suffering adverse consequences in a trauma-informed way.

The Plymouth Trauma Lens

Circular diagram depicting themes and actions

Key findings from the review

The Plymouth Homelessness Review 2019 set out to collate and analyse current data sets for homelessness in Plymouth. It looked at current levels of homelessness in the city, the services currently provided to prevent and reduce homelessness as well as the resources available to the partnership to deliver change in the system.

The review has also helped to shape the next phase of our strategy and to set our direction over the coming years

This section clearly highlights some challenges picked up in the review that the city faces to continue preventing and reducing homelessness in all its forms.

Private sector

The ending of private sector tenancies accounts is still the largest reason for homelessness in Plymouth accounting for 25 per cent of why clients lose their last settled address and these can be for a variety of reasons such a rent arrears,

behaviour or through no fault notices. eight per cent of tenancies are saved through prevention work related to providing financial support.

Relationship breakdown

25 per cent of approaches to the Local Authority are as a result of relationship breakdowns.This includes parental evictions or non-abusive relationships or those staying with friends however only three per cent of preventions are as a result of mediation to assist with clients returning home.

Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse presentations account for nine per cent of reason for clients approaching. While we have commissioned services to support this client group there is high demand for specialist support and accommodation which results in clients being placed in B&B and the offer of a refuge is very limited for men or those with male older children.

Rough Sleeping

Figures indicate that the average evidenced rough sleepers per night has fallen. However reports show sighting of over 340 individuals rough sleeping with 19 couples noted between 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019, of which 139 have no local connection or are ineligible for services.The main challenge is supporting couples or those with dogs into supported housing due to limited opportunities.

Leaving Prison

During April 2018 and March 2019, 65 applicants left an institution with no accommodation available, this primarily includes those released from prison. Whilst the Prisons are following the Duty to Refer requirements there is insufficient time and resources for those on short term sentences to obtain accommodation. In the last year there has been a reduction in supported accommodation for offenders and Prisons are reporting high numbers of those being released with no housing solution being found. In addition those being released from Prison are having difficulties providing documentation required in order to meet the Right to rent requirements immediately upon release.


1683 applicants indicate a health reason of 2,437 applicants stating they have additional needs within their households, this accounts for 69 per cent.

Unfortunately we are unable to determine which of these are due to physical or mental health, however 24 per cent of those indicating a health issue also indicated a history of drug and alcohol use.

Single person’s accommodation

66 per cent of the applicants are single applicants of which 27 per cent state they have a history of drug and alcohol use and of those 24 per cent also have a history of care. Households in housing need requiring a one bedroom made up 60 per cent of the register in 2017/18 however one bedroom houses were 44 per cent of lettings.

The Devon Home Choice (DHC) waiting lists demonstrate a need for one bedroom accommodation, which is backed by the Strategic Housing Market Needs Assessment (SHMNA). Current pipeline is insufficient to meet demand.

Accommodation for larger families

Between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019 140 households approached with three or more children and as of 31 August 2019 there were five households in

temporary accommodation with four or more children. Barriers to moving families relate to affordable sized accommodation for families impacted by the benefit cap. There were 628 households on the register as at January 2019 for four or more bed houses. four or more bed need makes up around five per cent of the DHC register, however the figures above show us that of all lettings during 2017/18, only

1.2 percent of these were four or more bed need.

Young People

49 applications were received from 16 and 17 year olds between April 2018 and March 2019. 75 per cent of the reasons for their homelessness was due to relationship breakdown at home. 24 of the 49 state they have a health issues of which six also have history of drug and alcohol use. Of the 49, seven state they

have history of being in care, two of which also have a history of residing in young offending institutions and both with a history of drug and alcohol.

Between April 2018 and March 2019, 512 applications were received from those aged 18 to 24 of which 62 per cent stated that they had a health issues of which ten per cent of the total had both health issues and history of drug and alcohol use. 76 of the 512 had a history of prison of which of those 25 also had a history of drug and alcohol use. 127 of the 512 had a history of care of which 43 of those had a history of prison.

Provision of Temporary Accommodation

590 households were provided with temporary accommodation between April 2018 and March 2019. Unfortunately this included the use of B&B as shown in Table 5 due to the demand and lack of other suitable offers at the time. 16/17 year are given priority for vacancies in commissioned temporary supported housing.

Bed and breakfast placements 2018/19

Household Number placed in year Average length of stay Average number of movements during stay
Couples 22 66 2
Single males 255 34 13
16/17 year olds 19 24 2
Single females 123 22 13
Families 171 15 2

Social, Supported and Private Housing evictions

It is concerning to see applications from those being evicted from supported and social housing and these organisations are not included in the agencies listed as part of the Duty to Refer contained within Homelessness Reduction Act.The recent change in engagement with social housing providers through the locally agreed Social Housing Eviction Protocol has increased the number of preventions through accessing DHP, the Local Authorities Prevention Fund or utilising the Credit Union however in some case the level of rent arrears is high and beyond the ability for the Local Authority to source a solution.

Whilst the Local Authority continues to engage and support private landlord, this focus is primarily on standards and ASB rather than other aspects that could result in a tenancy breaking down. We are reliant upon the tenants to approach the Local Authority for assistance but this approach is appearing quite late in the process and therefore reducing our ability to mediate in order to resolve.

Aims and priorities

The challenges set out in section seven can be met by focussing on four main priorities. Below we set them out and together with the main objectives that sit under each of the priorities to help us meet these challenges.

Priority one

We will tackle and prevent homelessness by focusing on prevention and early intervention to reduce homelessness

We will do this by:

  • Monitoring and adapting to the impact and changes under the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA)
  • Improving Young Person’s homelessness and support pathway
  • Improving early intervention pathways to prevent homelessness
  • Including working with Social Housing Provider, Prisons and DWP
  • Ensuring the city’s advice and information offer meets the needs of people who are facing or at risk of Homelessness
  • Work with partners to ensure advice and information is easily accessible and in a variety of formats
  • Supporting the implementation plan and work of The Plymouth Alliance

Priority two

We will focus on tackling Rough Sleeping We will do this by:

  • Working with commissioned services to deliver funded MHCLG Rough Sleeping Initiative and Rapid Rehousing Pathway funded schemes
  • Developing new and innovative plans to ensure the city’s prevention and response offer to rough sleepers is robust and inclusive
  • Deliver Solution Focused Trauma Informed training for staff across the Plymouth Alliance
  • Working with the Plymouth Alliance to evaluate and integrate the work of Multi Agency Rough Sleeper (MARS) team into the wider complex needs offer

Priority three

We will improve housing conditions for those in private rented housing We will do this by:

  • Developing new and innovative plans to improve the quality of and access to private rented housing
  • Working with tenants to help them sustain tenancies in the private rented sector and to help them understand their rights and responsibilities
  • Taking robust enforcement action to improve the condition and management of existing rented properties

Priority four

Deliver an increased range of accommodation solutions including specialist housing to those in most housing need

We will do this by:

  • Focusing on prevention and early intervention to deliver and support independent living
  • Providing more accessible and specialist homes for those that need them
  • Exploring new funding opportunities
  • Supporting access to decent, safe and affordable homes suited to needs
  • Delivering a broad range of accommodation solutions to avoid the use of emergency accommodation

Implementation and monitoring

Work will continue with all partners and interested parties throughout the lifetime of this document to support its on-going development and evaluation

Preventing Homelessness and Rough Sleeping in Plymouth will be reviewed and we will publish updates to the delivery plan on an annual basis. This will include performance against targets within the delivery plan and individual related projects where relevant.

Plymouth Homelessness Action Partnership will monitor the progress; the Partnership is comprised of officers from the local authority, a range of partner organisations who have shared responsibilities and accountabilities through the delivery plan. The delivery plan will be treated as live document, with priorities and resources reviewed in accordance with changes to the local and national context.

We will report to the Health and Wellbeing board with six monthly updates on progress to give full oversight of the wider system and to guarantee connection to key senior officers and ensure continued commitment to preventing and reducing homelessness and rough sleeping.

We will also report to Scrutiny Committee on a six monthly basis to provide delivery plan updates and provide an opportunity for members to scrutinise delivery against intended outcomes.