Agenda item

Change4Lincs Update

This report seeks to update Committee on the Change4Lincs partnership and the progress that has been made by the team.



Change4Lincs was an initiative which had been set up to tackle rough sleeping across Lincolnshire for South Kesteven, North Kesteven, West Lindsey and South Holland.  The scheme is hosted by South Kesteven District Council and delivered in partnership with North Kesteven District Council, West Lindsey District Council and South Holland District Council from pooling the Rough Sleeper Initiative funding to create this scheme. The initiative was launched in October 2020 and funding had just been secured until April 2025.


Regular Change4Lincs Strategic Partnership Meetings have been initiated, the next meeting was scheduled for the 23rd of February 2023.  Alongside these regular operational meetings take place with the Managers from the District Councils.  Rough sleepers could be referred by each local authority as well as the general public who may have had concerns about a known rough sleeper. The outreach team then sought to visit the rough sleeper onsite to discuss their options and to see if they could be supported by the team to transition into accommodation.


The package of support provided by the team had the aim of preventing the individual from having to return to rough sleeping.  Support included help with budgeting, benefit claims, signposting to mental health services and substance misuse services.


The team was currently managed by the Housing Options manager, along with a Team Leader.  The team was made up of a team leader, 3 outreach workers, 6 intensive support officers, 1 reconnection and support officer and a lettings officer.  Additionally, the funding received was less than the bid submitted for the next 3 years which meant the team had to be streamlined, deleting four posts that were vacant at the time.


One of the challenges was the area covered by the outreach team detailed above for all four District areas.  This had resulted in a less responsive service as would be desired.  As a result of the lack of available stock to utilise for accommodation, increasingly the Council needed to utilise B&B and nightly paid accommodation resulting in huge budget pressures. The decision had been made that from now until the end of the financial year, only exceptional cases were to be placed.


Next steps for the initiative were to provide a greater focus on support, scaling back the outreach and working more closely with districts to support clients with a joint goal of rehousing.


One Member queried the financial figures and the budget around providing the Change4Lincs service. It was confirmed that the budget was within the region of £930,000 for the three-year period.


ACTION: For the Acting Director of Housing to provide budgetary figures around Change4Lincs.


The number of individuals who received repeat presentations with Change4Lincs was questioned. 


ACTION: For the Acting Director of Housing to provide figures around individuals who received repeat presentations with Change4Lincs. 


Clarification was sought on numbers around referrals and whether they were being received from other authorities.


The Head of Housing Services highlighted that referrals came from each of the Districts into the South Kesteven District Council, who host referrals. It was noted that a number of referrals may be for the same individual. Once a referral was received from either of the four Districts, an outreach worker would find the individual and understand their reasoning for rough sleeping and work to provide accommodation for the individual.


It was noted that the total number of referrals was 239 and the number of individuals accommodated was 23. It was queried as to what happened to the 90% of rough sleepers who had not been accommodated. The age range of rough sleepers was questioned.


ACTION: For the Head of Housing Services to provide the Committee with statistics around the age, gender and ethnicity of rough sleepers. 


The Head of Housing Services confirmed that the 23 individuals accommodated had been supported into long term, permanent accommodation through the Council’s stock or assisted on a privately rented property. Other individuals may require supported accommodation which would also provide support with their mental health.


It was queried as to whether an upturn of rough sleepers could be seen within the District and how long an upturn was expected for.


The Acting Director of Housing highlighted that as a result of the cost-of- living crisis an increase of rough sleeping was evident, meaning an upward curve was expected. A visible increase was seen in Stamford over the past few months. It was noted that certain factors made finding accommodation particularly difficult e.g., pets, single person living.


One Member questioned as to whether rough sleepers in South Kesteven had local connections or were from elsewhere.


An assessment would be undertaken on referrals to establish personal information and the location of their local connection. If necessary, the Council would liaise with another Local Authority to ensure the individual is reconnected to their local area.


One Member queried as to how many rough sleepers within the District were veterans. It was further queried whether any mental health services would be provided to them once they were accommodated.


ACTION: For the Head of Housing Services to provide the Committee with a figure on the number of rough sleepers that were veterans in the District.


One Member requested contact details of an out of hours Officer in relation to identifying a rough sleeper.


The Acting Director of Housing confirmed that during severe weather conditions, the Council provide nightly accommodation for rough sleepers. The Council’s out of hours contact number could be used to report rough sleepers.


The Council’s revised Allocations Policy provided stipulations in regard to veterans and their access to the housing register and housing stock.


Concern was raised on individuals that had been accommodated but were begging in the community and what could be done to prevent this.


The Chairman noted that begging in the community should be dealt with by the Police.


The Acting Director of Housing confirmed that the Council’s CCTV team actively liaise with the Police in relation to individuals seen begging.


Details around the out of hours would be provided to Members after the Election in May 2023.


That the Committee:


That the Committee notes the latest update for the Change4Lincs partnership initiative.

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