Wealden District Council
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Homelessness Action Plan



Ensure there is corporate leadership in tackling homelessness in the district.

Corporate Plan 2019-23 recognises the need to help people who are or are likely to become homeless.

Continue to update the Council’s web pages on housing advice and homelessness to ensure advice is available early on

Update in line with the changes in the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017. Compliant with MHCLG guidance. Further updates as appropriate.

Explore different ways to deliver advice services e.g. home visits or skype/webchat

Home Works secondment in place for home visits to all parental eviction cases.

Explore ways to identify and interact with those households that are not receiving services but who might need them in order to prevent homelessness e.g. joint working arrangements

County wide project undertaken to develop pathways for Duty to Refer and arrangements are in place.

Review Protocols to ensure prevention e.g. Private Registered Providers pre-court protocols

Legal have completed Data Sharing Agreements with Private Registered Providers (Housing Associations). Review to start shortly on the protocols.

Forge closer links with services such as Children’s Services including Children’s Centres to ensure early links are made with those at risk of homelessness

County wide project undertaken to develop pathways for Duty to Refer and arrangements are in place. But further work is needed.

Work with ESCC to explore the need for and where a need exists deliver supported accommodation available for particular cohorts of people in need of accommodation with support

No new provision currently identified as need is currently fulfilled – 2 extra care schemes and a new scheme for people with disabilities have been developed in recent years. In 2020 we also received Government funding which resulted in the purchase of 4 flats for rough sleepers.



Review the Allocations Policy to ensure it contributes to preventing or relieving homelessness and meets the requirements of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017

Completed in 2020.

As part of the allocations Policy Review explore the need to develop local lettings plans

Completed to date. But will continue as new developments arise.

Review our policy for spending money allocated to us under the Preventing Repossessions Funding

Completed and policy is in place. Letsure reviewed and new policy approved.

Maximise opportunities to enable access to the Private Rented sector:

·       Review landlord incentives and

·       improve offer to landlords

Tenancy Sustainment Officer is forging closer links to private landlords and letting agents.

Work to raise awareness so that public bodies locally are aware of their duty to refer

County wide project undertaken to develop pathways for Duty to Refer and arrangements are in place.

Referrals can be made under this duty online.

Implement a new Housing Options and Homelessness system including the ability to create online personal housing plans

Completed, Locata now in place and used for the plans.

Review and update our Procedure Manual to take account of our new obligations

Completed, new procedure manual in place but will be reviewed again in 2021.

Ensure staff receive training on their new responsibilities under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017

Completed. Staff have attended training and now delivering responsibilities under the legislation.

Review and update Housing Options job roles




Implement the new Choice Based Lettings system and ensure it builds in the new legislation

Complete and online housing application form is now live.

Review Letsure to ensure that it meets the needs of customers

Lean process mapping exercise complete. Improvements identified and approved by cabinet. New policy is now in place.

Explore the viability of social lettings agency and / or property management services

Wealden Lettings Scheme is not proceeding.

Increase the number of letting agents working with us, particularly in the north of Wealden

Relationships being developed. Already a number of landlords/agents working with us via our Tenancy Sustainment Officer.

Explore opportunities to bring empty properties back into use

The intention was to promote the new social lettings agency (including social media) in conjunction with Empty Property Loan via Parity Trust. However, the social lettings agency is not proceeding.

We continue to work to understand the reasons why properties are empty and work with owners to bring properties back into use. We also offer Empty Property Loans as part of our Private Financial Assistance Policy.

Explore advertising private rented vacancies via the new CBL system

This is now in place but a review of the procedure and process is needed.

Complete a review of the need, use and cost of temporary accommodation across East Sussex in partnership with York University work




Ensure staff are utilising services such as Disabled facilities Grants, Discretionary Housing Payments and Housing Solutions Officer role to keep people at home

Ongoing work with Housing Solutions Officers. Since 2019 we have also had an Occupational Therapist and an OT assistant working in housing and later that year

Maximise opportunities to provide new affordable homes and continue to provide a range of properties across the District based on needs.

Asset Management Group continues to review the use of all housing and corporate assets.

We have built and acquired a number of new council homes since we have had the ability to do so.

Ensure the best use is made of existing affordable housing stock continuing to look at opportunities to address under occupation and over- crowding.

New Transfer Incentive Scheme policy approved in 2018.

Allocations review completed in 2018 and 2020.

Promote Government initiatives to enable households to access homeowner-ship

Ongoing – information and links on our website. Information published in Applicants newsletter as appropriate.

Explore the viability of developing shared accommodation for under 35s in partnership with local landlords

Initial current appetite from a local Housing Association has diminished and a different model is being trailed in Tunbridge Wells. Local Government Association has funded some work into how this can work in the private sector so we will learn from this once the results are published.

Explore the possibility of a new build temporary accommodation scheme or acquisition

A new build is not necessary due to the changes under the Homelessness Reduction Act. Focus will now be on emergency accommodation, with access to this in Wealden in now in place.



Continue to refer clients to support services such as Home Works and STEPS

Post East Sussex County Council spending review priority is given to Homeless households but the service is now very limited. Homeworks employee is now co-located in Wealden

Now have Tenancy Sustainment Officer in post.

Regularly review and update the Support Directory of services available in Wealden

Refer to ESCIS and 1Space online directories now as continuously updated and so we have moved away from our own directory.

Ensure ongoing training and support for staff

Regular legal update training. Different providers attend team meetings to ensure they are aware of different services and how they operate.

Procedure manual has been updated and is continuously reviewed. It is also linked to support directory which has been replaced by ESCIS and 1Space.

Ensure customers unable to access support services due to eligibility are supported by staff to access services such as health care, schools and social services through sign-posting

All staff will make appropriate referrals to appropriate providers. Tenancy Sustainment Officer and Housing Solutions Worker posts are utilised.

Explore digital inclusion initiatives including writing a business case for mobile devices for Temporary Accommodation Officer and visiting Housing Options Officer

2 IPads purchased for Housing Options Officers home visits and Temporary Accommodation Officer.



Utilise systems such as TP Tracker and the new Choice based Lettings system to communicate with customers on a regular basis

New Sussex Homemove system allows us to communicate directly with housing applicants. This is now used to email newsletters. Further options to use emails and text reminders are being explored.

In partnership with training providers operating in Wealden to deliver ‘Street Learning’ courses to provide additional skills to residents such as computer skills

Street Learning is ongoing. In 2018 online training courses were added.

The group continually review the need for different courses and recently this has resulted in functional maths and English being provided through the project.

Introduce Online Tenancy Training

Complete – IT solution now live and forms part of the Allocations Policy. Reviewing how this can be part of the Locata process and will start soon.

Feed into the Corporate Plan when it is reviewed in 2019 to ensure homelessness remains a corporate priority

New Corporate Plan published early 2019. The 2019- 23 Plan recognises the need to help people who are or are likely to become homeless

Explore ways to improve links with health services

There are good strategic links but operational links need further work.

Review arrangements with ESCC so that clients contacting them or us are referred to the other service as applicable

Part of Duty to Refer county-wide. Procedure in place.

Explore the viability of an East Sussex County wide Homelessness Strategy

No current resources or appetite.