Council launches health and wellbeing plan to prevent repeated homelessness in Nottinghamshire
More support is planned for homeless people in Nottinghamshire who are suffering health problems to try to reduce the number of people sleeping rough repeatedly.
Nottinghamshire County Council will renew and improve an existing contract it holds to support people out of homelessness, with plans revealed to significantly increase the help and guidance it offers to people.
Figures show there is ‘a substantial need’ for the council’s existing contract, which offers accommodation to single adults and helps with accessing benefits and setting up housing.
The current contract, which includes short-term, 18-week hostel programmes and 12-month ‘move-on’ support, has the capacity for 63 short-term tenants and a further 175 ‘move-on’ residents.
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In 2021, the existing provider supported 393 people across the short-term hostels and a further 271 people in its ‘move-on’, longer-term programmes.
When people use the service, existing providers create support plans, offer help with debts, refer residents to services to help quit smoking and deal with any addiction problems, and ensure their eventual exit is done in a planned way.
And a recent review found about 80 per cent of people using the service have a mental health support need, while also identifying more than 60 per cent need support applying for housing.
Now, major changes, which will come into effect from April 2023, will see support and liaison increased with district and borough council housing teams to progress residents’ housing applications.
Further support will be offered with accessing benefits, skills and training courses for independent living, and help for people in accessing employment.
The new contract will also offer access to healthcare, mental health services and social care assessments if needed, as well as help to identify issues with their health, exercise, diet and smoking.
And the service will continue to offer access to substance misuse services and provide further follow-up support for people exiting the temporary accommodation – aiming to prevent them from becoming homeless again.
In a report, Jonathan Gribbin, director for public health in Nottinghamshire, said: “The intention is to be able to identify health and care needs of those that are experiencing homelessness earlier.
“This will require close liaison with health services including primary care services, mental health care, substance misuse services and social care assessment.
“In addition to this, there is further opportunity to support individuals to access commissioned services providing support for people wishing to exercise more and make changes to their diet.
“For many people, the need for some level of support continues after they have secured their own tenancy.
“Therefore, this will aim to add an element of floating support into the contract specifically to follow people through to their own tenancy and to follow up people over a suitable timeframe to see if those that have used the service have avoided becoming homeless again or are avoiding repeat homelessness.”
The authority will launch a tender process for the new, improved contract in the coming weeks and plans to have the new support in place by April next year.
An additional £78,000 will be added to the project’s budget, which now stands at £1m per year, to address inflation and to provide follow-up support after people leave the service.
This will include the creation of one full-time worker, on £27,290 per year, to lead on the follow-up support.