More Council support for homeless people
More support is to be given to homeless people in the St Albans District with the recruitment of a full-time caseworker.
St Albans City and District Council is creating a new post which will be funded by a Government grant for helping the homeless.
The Homelessness Assessment Advisor will assist with an increase in approaches to the Council from people struggling to find a home.
It follows the appointment last year of a Specialist Homelessness Advisor to work with rough sleepers in the District and assist them in securing permanent accommodation.
In another development, the Council is undertaking a reorganisation of its housing support team that provides services to people awaiting permanent housing.
The restructuring aims to provide increased support to those people in temporary accommodation.
This includes some individuals who have complex issues such as poor mental health, addiction or difficulty in accessing benefits and services.
A number of new roles will be created while some existing ones will be ended with two possible redundancies.
The changes are not driven by a need to save money with staff numbers remaining almost the same at seven full-time equivalent posts.
Instead, they are a response to an increase in demand for particular homeless services following the introduction of the Homeless Reduction Act.
Details were given to a meeting of the Council’s Cabinet on Thursday 23 January with approval being given to the changes.
Councillor Jacqui Taylor, Portfolio Holder for Housing, Inclusion and Protection, said after the meeting:
There has been a significant rise in the number of homeless people seeking help from the Council including those who are suffering from complex issues.
These may be people sleeping rough on the streets or people on our Housing Register, waiting for a home, who are currently in temporary accommodation.
The recruitment of a new dedicated caseworker and the changes to our housing support team will mean we are better equipped to deal with this very difficult challenge.
The restructuring is not a cost-cutting exercise – indeed there will be a slight rise in the salary total – but a considered response to the increase in demand for support services.
We are ensuring that we make the best possible use of our resources to help the homeless and rough sleepers.