Category Archives: News

Housing First: Funding boost to tackle rough sleeping in Birmingham

Three areas in England are set to launch new pilot projects to support rough sleepers with complex needs get off the streets into stable and affordable accommodation, Housing Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP has announced today (9 May 2018).

The projects in Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region and the West Midlands Combined Authority will offer individuals intensive support to recover from complex health issues, for example substance abuse and mental health difficulties and sustain their tenancies.

The pilot projects will be based on Housing First, an internationally proven approach to supporting rough sleepers into long-term accommodation.

Funding for the Government’s Housing First Pilots was announced at Autumn Budget.

Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council commented, “We welcome the announcement of the funding for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Housing First bid. Birmingham has long recognised the value of the Housing First model which provides a housing solution for the most vulnerable people facing homelessness in our city.

“We are pleased to be leading the development of the bid alongside our local authority partners as part of the WMCA. Delivering a Housing First pilot will be a key element in implementing both the Birmingham City Council Homelessness Prevention Strategy and the Regional Homelessness Taskforce work.”

Housing Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said: “The evidence shows Housing First has an incredible rate of success in providing rough sleepers with the support they need to get off the streets and to rebuild their lives.

“We are investing over £1.2 billion to break the homelessness cycle, but we know there’s more to do to help people off the streets for good. This is why the Government is leading the way in implementing Housing First in England.

“I believe these pilots will have a positive impact in their areas and I look forward to hearing about their successes over the coming months.”

Jacqui Kennedy, corporate director for place at Birmingham City Council said, “Homelessness prevention and programmes such as Housing First is something we have been working hard towards for many years. The allocation of funding to develop a pilot for Housing First across the West Midlands is a first step towards achieving this. I wholeheartedly welcome the opportunity to learn from the outcomes of the pilot and explore innovative ways to prevent and respond to homelessness.”

Housing First is a tried and tested approach to tackling long-term rough sleeping that puts the emphasis on finding individuals a secure and affordable home to live in, while providing them with expert support to rebuild their lives.

In Europe, Housing First projects have been successful at ending homelessness for at least 8 out of 10 people in the scheme. This is compared to hostel-based accommodation which has resulted in between 40% and 60% of users with complex needs leaving, or ejected, before their homelessness is resolved.

Today’s announcement builds on measures the Government is bringing forward to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and end it altogether by 2027, including:

  • A new Rough Sleeping Team made up of rough sleeping and homelessness experts with specialist knowledge across a wide-range of areas from housing, mental health and addiction;
  • A £30 million fund for 2018 to 2019 with further funding agreed for 2019 to 2020 targeted at local authorities with high numbers of people sleeping rough. These areas will be supported by the new Rough Sleeping Team to develop local interventions to reduce the numbers of those sleeping rough; and
  • £100,000 funding to support frontline Rough Sleeping workers to make sure they have the right skills and knowledge to work with vulnerable rough sleepers.

The Government is additionally working with the National Housing Federation to look at providing additional, coordinated move-on accommodation for rough sleepers.

There is no place in Birmingham for hatred or intolerance

As the Football Lads Alliance prepare to protest in Birmingham this weekend, we wish to make it clear that there is no place in our city for hatred or intolerance.

If you hold extremist views and plan to stir-up trouble in our city, you are not welcome.

Birmingham is proud to be a diverse, open, tolerant and welcoming city. It is a city where people from all backgrounds, neighbourhoods and communities are united.

Whenever extremists try to divide us they quickly discover that there is no room in this city for extremist views or hatred.

Birmingham will not be divided and, while people have every right to counter-protest, we expect all protests to be carried out in a peaceful, legal and non-confrontational manner.

Birmingham City Council is working closely with West Midlands Police this week to ensure that visitors to the city centre can go about their business as usual on Saturday.

We are also aware that on Saturday, Justice for the 21 will be highlighting their ongoing quest for answers about the Birmingham pub bombings and must stress that we continue to support the families of the victims.

Cllr Ian Ward – Labour Leader of Birmingham City Council

Cllr Robert Alden – Leader of the Birmingham City Council Conservative Group

Cllr Jon Hunt – Leader of the Birmingham City Council Liberal Democrats Group

You spoke, we listened: Council to set 2018/19 budget

Birmingham City Council will increase investment in housing, social care and cleaner, greener streets despite having to make a further £53 million in cuts for the 2018/19 budget.

And, in response to the budget consultation, residents face a lower than anticipated council tax increase.

The proposed 2018/19 budget will be taken to Cabinet on 13 February, with changes to the original proposals including:

  • Reducing the Council Tax increase to 3.99%, including 1% through the social care precept
  • No increase to burial and cremation fees
  • No longer proceeding with plans to charge for library book reservations

The proposed budget also includes additional investment of £70.7 million in 2018/19, including £30.4 million for adult social care and a £468 million Council Housing Capital Programme over the next four years, including £196 million for new homes and regeneration. There are also proposals to invest £0.2 million in measures to tackle fly-posting across the city.

Council Leader Cllr Ian Ward said: “We have listened and, even at a time of continuing Government cuts, we are investing in the services that matter most to the people of Birmingham.

“It’s also clear that many households are struggling with the increased cost of living, so the council tax increase will now be lower than the one we consulted on.

“Government funding for the services that people across Birmingham rely on has been cut by almost £650 million since 2010 and sadly we anticipate having to make further cuts of £123 million by 2021/22.

“We have to make cuts of £53 million for 2018/19 and inevitably that has meant having to make some difficult decisions.

“Those decisions have been informed by the people of this city and I would like to thank everyone who took time to have a say in our consultation.”

The budget will now be taken to Cabinet on 13 February, before going to Full Council on 27 February for final approval. The Cabinet report and draft budget document can be read here.