The Chairman welcomed Lydia Lewinson, LBB Head of Housing Options and Support to the meeting to provide an overview of the rough sleeper stakeholder event held in January 2022. A copy of the presentation is attached at Appendix B.
The LBB Head of Housing Options and Support advised that the numbers in Bromley were generally low, with two or three occasional rough sleepers. It was highlighted that this was something that could happen to anyone, and it was important that the right partnership approach was taken.
During the stakeholder event, several questions had been discussed regarding the care pathways for rough sleepers in Bromley, including:
- whose responsibility was it to safeguard/keep rough sleepers safe, when it was their personal choice to sleep rough?
- at what point should a safeguarding referral be made, and what could be expected from the service?
- whose responsibility were rough sleepers when they refused multiple offers of accommodation?
- how quickly could they get a dual diagnosis or psychiatrist to assess them on the streets?
- what if they present as having capacity and navigate themselves around the system again?
Agreed actions following the stakeholder event had included:
- Creating a directory of services – resources, threshold, transparency of provision;
- Appointment of a dedicated Single Point of Contact in each agency;
- More training in relation to cuckooing;
- Early intervention to prevent homelessness;
- Thinking outside the box;
- GP registration/list of health services; and,
- List of frequent visitors to A&E to see if intervention/support could be provided.
A Board Member said that the time intensive work being undertaken was extremely impressive and was having a really positive impact. The service operating in Bromley was “leading the way” and she would be keen to share this example with other Safeguarding Adult Board colleagues.
A Member said she was aware of families who were coping with adult children returning to the family home with mental health issues due to the impact of the pandemic and highlighted the need for interventions prior to relationships breaking down. The LBB Head of Housing Options and Support advised that the support and resettlement team received referrals and provided early intervention. They looked at things such as pathways, alternative accommodation, and access to benefits for this group of “hidden homeless”. Another Member agreed that prevention was better than cure and emphasised the need for work to be undertaken prior to behaviours becoming entrenched. A Member enquired if engagement took place with landlords to ensure that there was a timeline for people living with their parents, and not on the tenancy, to find alternative accommodation when it was required. The LBB Head of Housing Options and Support advised that a landlord would be acting illegally if they just changed the locks – prior to eviction, the landlord would need to issue a notice to the tenant and obtain a court possession order.
A Board Member enquired as to how easy, or difficult, it was for the team to get rough sleepers access to GPs or health services. The LBB Head of Housing Options and Support said it was much easier if the rough sleeper gave their permission. However permission was not usually given, and GDPR could not be bypassed, so they made full use of the medical clinic hosted by Bromley Homeless Shelter. It was considered that in the future a mobile unit would also be beneficial. The team would continue with a person-centred approach, and it was noted that target meetings took place every two weeks and the LBB Assistant Director for Public Health provided advice on the best way forward.
The Chairman congratulated the LBB Head of Housing Options and Support and the LBB Assistant Director for Public Health on delivering a powerful stakeholder event and the great work being undertaken.
RESOLVED that the update be noted.