Hull City Council has been recognised for ‘leading the field’ in a national programme aiming to crackdown on rogue landlords and housing benefit fraud.
On Friday 19 March the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) announced that the council would receive an additional £840k to carry out vital work to improve the standards of supported accommodation across the city.
Supported accommodation refers to housing which specifically supports some of the most vulnerable people in the community, including elderly people or those recovering from drug or alcohol abuse.
During an interview with BBC Radio Humberside on Friday 19 March, Eddie Hughes MP, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing said: “I think Hull City Council are doing an amazing job. They are leading the field in this by checking the quality of accommodation that’s been provided by going out and visiting people and checking with the people who are receiving the support to make sure they are getting the support they need, and they’re going to come up with a scores on the doors system so that we can identify those providers who are doing a good job.”
In Hull there are currently 2,800 units of supported accommodation, with 43 providers managing that accommodation.
Eddie Hughes MP continued: “We’ve got a few people to get through in terms of checking that they’re doing what they say they’re doing, but Hull is certainly leading the way in this programme.
“I think we’re going to learn a lot from the great job the team in Hull have done and we’re going to be using that to apply best practice learning to other parts of the country.”
The authority was originally awarded £798k in November to kick-start this project, and now the funding will build on some of the important work already going on in the community to raise the standards expected by residents when living in supported accommodation.
Councillor John Black, Hull City Council’s portfolio holder for housing, said: “We were delighted to hear the housing minister speak so positively about the work going on in Hull.
“We are passionate about working with our residents and partners to improve supported housing conditions and can already see the difference it has made for many people in helping them to live more stable and independent lives.
“As well as contributing towards establishing a national standard for supported housing, the funding will enable us to improve our understanding of the supply and demand of short-term supported housing locally and further build our relationships with key partners.”
Over the last few months the project had provided valuable insight into how these services can be improved by testing a range of innovative ideas. For example, the Love Your Street and the Neighbourhood Nuisance Teams have been able to work collaboratively and provide targeted support and community engagement aiming to improve neighbourhoods with supported accommodation.
The project has also equipped the council with the tools to check properties, accommodation standards, support provision and the associated Housing Benefit claims.
The team will now look to continue this work, whilst incorporating a digitalised system which will allow the relevant support teams to access information about an individual in supported accommodation.