Job description: Home Choices Team Manager at West Lindsey District Council
Areas of interest: Housing and homelessness – services for women with complex needs, Domestic abuse, Families and children – including relationships, Substance use
Michelle Howard's Recent Activity
"Lincolnshire is the 4th largest county in England and the 4th most sparsely populated. A county of contrasts with diverse landscapes covering coastal, rural and urban areas, Lincolnshire has concentrations of population around the city of Lincoln and market towns. Rural and coastal areas present particular challenges with the coastal areas characterised by high concentrations of deprivation and high levels of low paid seasonal work, while rural areas have low population density areas, poor road networks and transport infrastructure coupled with social isolation.
Historically, cross authority partnership working across 2 tier authorities has proved difficult to achieve in most areas. However the seven local housing authorities in Lincolnshire have a strong track record of working collectively, together with other agencies and service users, through the well established Lincolnshire Homelessness Strategy Group (LHSG) to prevent and tackle homelessness in a coordinated way. The strong partnership in Lincolnshire has been recognised as an example of best practice by Homeless Link and dCLG. The group continues to strive for development and improvement.
Lincolnshire has developed its homelessness strategy 2012 – 2016. Aligning local, regional and national priorities, and following with officers, partner agencies, service users, private sector landlords and members; 5 key themes were developed and later agreed at a homelessness conference:
1. Homelessness Prevention
2. Partnership Working
3. Welfare and Policy Reform
4. Young People
5. Rough Sleeping
The rough sleeping priority includes a project in which the 7 Lincolnshire DC’s plus Rutland CC (included in our sub regional dCLG funding arrangements), collectively commissioned a partner agency (Framework HA) to deliver a rough sleeper project, to support us to end rough sleeping in line with the Government’s vision. Since its inception in Lincolnshire, the projects ‘Street Outreach’ team has worked with 39 Females across Lincolnshire & Rutland, plus another 2 referred this week. (As a comparison, they have also worked with 180 Males). To give an idea of the work they have done with rough sleeping females, some detail of their case work is included below:
• 32 year old female. Rough sleeping with partner in tent on golf course. Had previously been evicted from council tenancy for ASB, children taken into care. Substance misuses issues and ADHD. Referred to substance misuse services and accommodated at Framework supported housing project.
• 28 year old female. Rough sleeping in city centre. Learning difficulties and previous domestic violence issues. Liaised with local authority, refuge accommodation found and lady transported to new accommodation.
• 25 year old female. Rough sleeping in tent in market town. Insulin dependent diabetic. Had supported accommodation in another county but refused to return so found intentionally homeless. Referred to supported housing project. Interim accommodation provided by street outreach team due to concerns for health
• 25 year old female. Rough sleeping on beach with partner following release from prison. On alcohol treatment requirement. Contact lost but later found to be rough sleeping again in market town. Referred and accepted into couple’s room in Framework supported accommodation project.
• 34 year old female. Rough sleeping in tent in train station with husband and pet cat. Self referral using 0800 number set up by Framework for the project. Registered disabled, claimed to be pregnant. Outreach team took to local housing authority – accommodated under homelessness duty.
• 51 year old Polish female. Rough sleeping in market town. Suffering domestic abuse from rough sleeping Polish male. Supported into refuge accommodation.
• 25 year old female. Rough sleeping between towns. Offending history. Medical issues included PTSD and depression. Outreach team liaised with GO to obtain medical notes to support accommodation via local authority under homelessness duty
• 33 year old female. Rough sleeping and sofa surfing in city centre. Housing services had previously refused due to rent arrears and not addressing alcohol issues. Outreach team supported access to substance misuse services and repayment plan established to address arrears. With that in place, accommodated by YMCA supported accommodation
• 19 year old female. Sofa surfing / rough sleeping in city centre. Previously refused by supported housing providers as support needs deemed to be too high. With support of outreach team was accommodated by YMCA supported housing project"
Reply To: Housing and homelessness – services for women with complex needs