Press Releases week beginning 01 April 2019
Rough sleeping projects to improve access to housing
Hastings Borough Council is giving its report on rough sleeping at Cabinet on Monday 8 April. The report gives a summary of projects for the next year to reduce the number of people rough sleeping in the town.
Reducing rough sleeping will be a key part of the council’s new Housing and Homelessness Strategy, which is due to be adopted later this year.
Rough sleeping initiative
The Rough Sleeping Initiative is a joint project between Hastings and Eastbourne Councils, which started in September 2018.
Andy Batsford, lead councillor for housing said,
“The project will improve access to housing, health, mental health, substance misuse and social care services for long term rough sleepers. The project also provides dedicated temporary and long term housing solutions for homeless people.”
The project is funded by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), and has a budget of £824,000 to continue this work in 2019/20.
Rapid re-housing pathway
Hastings Borough Council led a successful bid for £310,000 on behalf of Eastbourne, Rother, Lewes and Wealden Councils to the MHCLG’s Rapid Rehousing Pathway programme.
Andy Batsford commented,
“The project helps with supported lettings. Support officers will work with rough sleepers with some support needs and “at risk” people who find it difficult to get and keep housing. The project will work with the council’s housing team. And develop new links with statutory and voluntary sector partners.”
The council works in partnership with the Seaview Project to provide an outreach service too. This also helps to reduce rough sleeping and funding from Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group’s programme helps to reduce health inequalities.
Council leads successful bid to reduce homelessness across East Sussex
Hastings Borough Council has led a successful bid to the government for money to help reduce homelessness across East Sussex.
It applied for a grant from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government’s ‘Accessing the Private Rented Sector’ initiative on behalf of Eastbourne, Lewes, Rother and Wealden Councils. The project will work with people who need housing to find a new home in the private sector. The project team will also give support to these households, to help reduce the risk of them becoming homeless in the future, and provides funding for a rent guarantor pilot.
Andy Batsford, lead councillor for housing said,
“There has been a large increase in the number of individuals and families living in temporary housing in Hastings, and the length of time people spend living there. This has cost the councils a considerable amount of money and affects the quality of life of the people living in this type of accommodation. There is a lot of competition for private rented housing, and people can find it difficult to get offers of housing for many reasons. The council is working to improve this, and this successful bid will undoubtedly help.”
In February, the council also agreed to give some of its flexible homelessness support grant to provide rent in advance and deposits. They have also set aside funding for a project which will help people keep their existing home, where possible, and avoid being placed in temporary housing.
Council hosts European sustainable transport conference
Hastings Borough Council hosted an EU-funded sustainable transport conference last week (Tuesday-Thursday 26th – 28th March).
Part of the DESTI-SMART’ programme (Delivering Efficient Sustainable Tourism with low-carbon transport Innovations: Sustainable Mobility, Accessibility and Responsible Travel) it is an ‘Interreg Europe’ project led by Thessaloniki in Greece, with other partners in Italy, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Latvia, Hungary, Cyprus and the UK.
Delegates from these countries met in the council chamber in Hastings and discussed low-carbon transport systems for visitors at tourist destinations, with each partner presenting their problems and potential solutions. Local Hastings stakeholders, including representatives of the local disability forum and sustainable transport forum, also attended. Other speakers included Patrick Severn Lamb, the managing director of UK-based Severn Lamb, who makes bespoke people movers for destinations around the world.
Delegates also went on a study tour of Hastings Old Town, including both the West Hill and East Hill lifts, and the seafront, looking at the potential route of a new sustainable public transport service between the Old Town and West St Leonards.
Cllr Peter Chowney, leader of Hastings Borough Council, opened the conference. He explained,
“Hastings has benefitted considerably from European funding over the years, and continues to do so."
“We are using our participation in this programme to explore options for low carbon and sustainable transport along the seafront, so as to more effectively link The Stade in the Old Town and West St Leonards. This will include a feasibility study, and the development of a business case."
“Currently this journey is impossible by ‘bus without changing vehicles en route, which is a real barrier to visitors wanting to explore the whole seafront. This project will enable us to consider pilot schemes, which if successful could be used elsewhere. And not only will we share our experience with our European partners, we also hope to learn from them too."
“Sustainable public transport is a subject close to my heart, and it was great to see so many delegates from across Europe here in Hastings discussing the subject."
“It was the first visit to the town for most of them, and they seemed to be very impressed with it. They particularly enjoyed their tour of the Old Town, several saying they would like to return in the future.”