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B&NES Council Corporate Strategy 2020 to 2024

More housing options

As part of the response to the COVID-19 crisis we, working with partners, assisted 69 rough sleepers to find housing. 42 of these were housed directly by us in temporary accommodation. This action is already creating a number of positive outcomes for the individuals concerned, including reduced drug and alcohol usage, and improved mental wellbeing.

We are committed to ensuring that these positive outcomes are maintained for these individuals, but also that there are more high-quality housing options for those residents in need, particularly our more vulnerable residents. As such, we are progressing a range of strategies designed to support this aim including commissioning around 28 units of permanent supported accommodation for former rough sleepers.

Bespoke rough sleeper action plan

We have committed to extending the provision of temporary accommodation for rough sleepers until at least the spring when it anticipated that the permanent accommodation will come online. In addition we, and our partners, are working with the former rough sleepers to develop individual housing action plans to ensure that all are provided with the support and assistance to enable them to transition into supported or permanent accommodation. So far around 32 rough sleepers have now moved into permanent accommodation following this support.

Improving housing conditions

During the pandemic we have continued to operate the Housing in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Licensing scheme, which covers all shared houses in the city of Bath, and larger HMOs outside of Bath. We are continuing to see the positive impact of these schemes on the housing conditions and management standards in these properties. So far, around 2300 HMOs have been licensed within the district. In addition, we have also taken formal action on a number of identified substandard properties.

So far during 2020/21 we have issued:

  • 22 formal warning letters
  • 3 financial penalties
  • 2 Improvement notices
  • 1 prosecution in the magistrates court

Preventing homelessness

During the lockdown we continued to operate a full homelessness service. Overall, we has been very successful in preventing homelessness and maintaining our comparatively low usage of temporary accommodation. These figures did rise due to provision of temporary accommodation to all rough sleepers as a result of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Demand for social housing significantly increased during the first lockdown, with an extra 1200 applicants joining the Homesearch Scheme, our one-stop access point for social housing.

Social and council housing

By the end of the delivery period 2018/19 to 2020/21 it is anticipated that we will have delivered 708 affordable housing units, exceeding the target of 600. In addition, there are a further 565 units with planning consent in the pipeline.

We are also looking to further enhance delivery by the direct provision of council housing, including shared ownership homesand supported housing schemes to assist our most vulnerable residents.