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Council Leader Pete Marland has today welcomed the publication of the Local Government Association (LGA) report highlighting the tragedy of the growing homelessness crisis facing the Country and the huge number of children residing in temporary accommodation. (i)

Cllr Marland said, “Milton Keynes is facing a huge homelessness problem with 1,288 children in temporary accommodation last week (14.07.17). As the LGA says the position is likely to get worse for a range of reasons. Labour led Milton Keynes has adopted a twin track approach and some progress is being made. Our progress reflects the good practice highlighted in the LGA report.

Why will homelessness get worse?

There are 4 main reasons why it will continue to rise:

i. The freeze on Local Housing Allowance (LHA) will mean the gap between private rented sector rents (PRS) and Housing Benefit will widen. Many lower income households, albeit in work, will not be able to afford the high rents.

ii. The Benefit cap will hit homeless families not in work.

iii. The insecurity of PRS tenancies leads to high turnover and evictions. (ii)

iv. The LHA rate will be used to cap Housing Benefit for Council and housing association tenants. (iii)

In addition Milton Keynes Council has lost £916,000 in money from the Government because of changes in funding for temporary accommodation.

Progress on Twin Track approach

Cllr Nigel Long, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Housing said, “We have made some good progress in tackling homelessness locally, both in terms of homeless families (Track 1) and in terms of rough sleepers (Track 2). We will shortly announce further measures around rough sleepers.

Progress is highlighted in the annex by action taken.

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Cllr Long

Cllr Long added, “We will shortly make public the location of the new One stop Shop for rough sleepers that will be operated independently by the voluntary sector; I can further highlight that in addition to the extra night shelter provision already in place we are looking to develop specialist ‘crash’ accommodation for night time emergencies. Again this will be operated by a housing support specialist.

Cllr Marland concluded, “Tackling homelessness is a top priority for the Council and we are pleased that our work reflects the good practice highlighted by the LGA. But the real long term solution is more secure and affordable homes. That means the Government has to give us the freedom to invest in new homes. At present there is not much sign of them doing that. It is shameful that they do nothing whilst there are over 1200 children in Milton Keynes and tens of thousands more across the Country living in temporary accommodation.


 

 (i) Housing our Homeless households. LGA. 22.07.17

(ii) https://www.jrf.org.uk/press/100-families-day-lose-their-homes

(iii) Local Housing Allowance caps and the social rented sector. House of Commons Briefing. 16.06.17


Annex A: Progress across the Twin Track actions on Homelessness.

Progress in tackling General Needs Homelessness:

1 Reduced B&B

We have reduced the use from 53% of homeless in 2015/16 to less than 1% now.

2 LHA level temporary accommodation (TA)

We have entered into a partnership for local TA provision at LHA rents. £3 million in 17/18. Managed by MKC.

3 Working with PRS

We have established an enhanced PRS leasing scheme.

4 Modular TA

We are piloting 60 homes.

5 Purchasing new homes

We have put £7 million in 17/18. Estimate circa 98 homes. Bought/built 74 in 16/17 Council houses.

6 Real Lettings Fund

We have invested £5 million in buying properties with the properties managed by St. Mungoes.

7 Prevention work

We are employing 6 new staff members to work on homelessness prevention. Linked to the new Homelessness Reduction

 

Progress in tackling Street Homelessness (Rough sleepers)

1 Night Shelter

Extra 15 overnight places (Winter) Up to 30

2 Night Shelter

Introduced 15 overnight places (Summer)

3 Introduced outreach service

In partnership with Luton, CB and Bedford. Specialist mental health staff. Preparing to fund after 2 years grant.

4 Establishing One stop shop.

Final arrangement on building being finalised. To be operated by Voluntary sector

5 Crash accommodation

Proposing a specialist emergency shelter.

6 Homelessness Bus

We are strongly supporting. Will give 16 extra places at night.

Update on Homelessness Twin Track progress

Council Leader Pete Marland has today welcomed the publication of the Local Government Association (LGA) report highlighting the tragedy of the growing homelessness crisis facing the Country and the huge...

Cllr_Khan_on_Queensway.png

Bletchley Councillor Mohammed Khan is pleased that Queensway road in Central Bletchley has been improved. The new surface and underlay was completed to a high standard and the workers who did the improvement worked really hard in very hot weather.

Cllr Khan said, “ I am really pleased that Milton Keynes Council  has invested in improving Queensway; a very busy road.  But I especially want to praise the workers who did the improvements in such hot weather. It was impressive to see.”

Milton Keynes Labour Council is investing heavily in road improvements across Milton Keynes including in Bletchley.

Cllr Khan added, “I am pleased that the area I represent is seeing investment in road improvements. But there is so much more to do.  If only the Government would allow the Council to borrow to invest we could tackle the many other roads that need upgrading.”

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He concluded, “I believe that come rain, or shine we need to continue to invest in road improvements. A big thank you to the Council for doing Queensway. An even bigger one to the workers. I hope to see more Bletchley roads improved over the coming years.”

Queensway road improvements welcome - It was hot work for the Workers!

Bletchley Councillor Mohammed Khan is pleased that Queensway road in Central Bletchley has been improved. The new surface and underlay was completed to a high standard and the workers who...

Zoe Nolan meeting the mental health challenge

Tackling mental health challenges is a top priority for Labour-led Milton Keynes Council. Both Children’s and Adult Social Care Services have made addressing mental health problems a priority. 

On Wednesday 13th July a conference was held, bringing together headteachers and governors from across Milton Keynes, to talk about how to promote a safe and stable environment for children and young people. Cllr Zoe Nolan, Cabinet Member for Children and Families said:

"I was delighted to attend the conference. It is very important that schools consider the best way to support young people who may be starting to experience the early signs of mental health. Early intervention is the key."

The council is committed to tackling early signs of mental health, and is especially keen to ensure that young people get support as they transition to being adults.

Funding problems

Both schools and the NHS, key partners with the council, are under huge financial pressures as a result of the Government's consistent under-funding and cuts in support.

This is borne out by research from the widely respected Kings Fund. On the 7th July 2017, responding to the new NHS Providers report, The State of the NHS Provider Sector, the Kings Fund stated:

"This report yet again raises concerns around how good intentions on mental health are often not translating into better services on the ground. The NHS is under severe financial pressure 'Mental health services must be at the heart of ambitions to transform the NHS to make sure it can meet future need.'" [1]

Cllr Nigel Long, Cabinet member for Adult Social Care added:

"We are very keen to develop close working across schools, Adult Social Care and the NHS. This will allow early intervention support, and help to provide pathways for people to live independently and to manage their mental health challenges.”

Cllr Zoe Nolan concluded:

"Depression, just one area of mental health, affects around 15,468 individuals in Milton Keynes. [2] The wider range of mental health problems points to a high number. Around 27,397 people are expected to have a common mental disorder by 2020 locally. [3] It is important to build good working relationships across a range of organisations, from schools to the NHS, but we also have to continue to ensure that funds across a range of mental health services are protected and not cut."

Contact

Cllr Zoe Nolan:  01908 560454 or 07881209775

Cllr Nigel Long: 07799035756

 

Follow Zoe Nolan on:

Twitter: @ZoeNolan3

Facebook: Zoe Nolan for Loughton and Great Holm Parish

 


Notes

1. Kings Fund. 7 July

2. Milton Keynes Joint Strategic Needs Assessment 2015/16

3. Milton Keynes Mental Health Strategy 2014-17

 

 

Meeting the Mental Health Challenge in MK

Tackling mental health challenges is a top priority for Labour-led Milton Keynes Council. Both Children’s and Adult Social Care Services have made addressing mental health problems a priority. 

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