ADD375 Homeless Health Advocacy Project

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD375
Date signed: 
14 December 2015
Decision by: 
Jamie Ratcliff, Assistant Director of Policy, Programme and Services

Executive summary

As part of the GLA’s ongoing work commissioning rough sleeping services aligned to the Mayor’s key priorities, as set out in the Commissioning Framework 2011-15, approval is sought to grant fund the Homeless Health Advocacy Project that contributes to the aim of ending rough sleeping in London. 

Decision

That the Assistant Director of the Programme, Policy and Services Unit of the Housing and Land Directorate approves the award for 2015-16 of up to £50,000 of grant funding to Groundswell for the Homeless Health Advocacy Project.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    Among the Mayor’s key aims in his London Housing Strategy are to work with boroughs and other partners to ensure that no one new to London’s streets sleeps rough for a second night, no one lives on the streets and the flow of new rough sleepers onto the streets is minimised. Since early 2009, the Mayor has convened a board that brings together key partners to identify timely, appropriate and sustainable solutions to rough sleeping in the capital (initially the London Delivery Board and now the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Group). Since 2011, he has also had responsibility for funding and commissioning pan-London rough sleeper services. These are services for rough sleepers, or initiatives to tackle rough sleeping, that cannot or would not be provided at a London borough level, as they are pan-London or multi-borough in their remit. A budget of £33.8 million for these services was devolved to the GLA from central government for 2011-15. This budget was extended until 2015/16 and approval granted through MD1417. 

1.2    The shape and nature of these services is underpinned by the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework, which includes a priority ‘to meet the physical and mental health needs of rough sleepers’. In order to meet this priority, the GLA has – since 2012 - been grant-funding Groundswell to provide the Homeless Health Advocacy Project, whereby peer advocates accompany rough sleepers to attend health appointments and assist them to sustain health treatment. The project, which won the Andy Ludlow Homelessness Award in 2014, has enabled rough sleepers to attend 3,100 medical appointments between 2012 and 2015. We have grant-funded this project as seed funding to enable it to be rolled out across London. It is now operating in eight boroughs, with the GLA now providing only 14% of the total funding.

1.3    There has been a significant increase in the number of rough sleepers in recent years, primarily because of the increased flow of new people onto the streets. Over 7,500 people were seen rough sleeping by outreach workers during 2014/15, of which 67% were new arrivals onto the streets. Further, we have seen a shift in demographic of the rough sleeping population, with a larger proportion (57%) of those sleeping rough who are non-UK nationals. Given this, it is proposed that the Homeless Health Peer Advocacy Project is extended for a further year. This will enable Groundswell to approach further boroughs to roll out the service, with the aim to expand into a minimum of a further two boroughs this year.  

1.4    The negotiations with Groundswell on the exact level of funding and targets has resulted in a slight delay in agreeing the grant but higher targets with the same amount of funding (See Appendix for more information). 

 

Objectives and expected outcomes

 

Project/service to be funded

Background

Expected outcome

Homeless Health Peer Advocacy Project

 

Annual grant agreements for 2012-15, approved through DD667, DD1047 and DD1149, were issued to the provider. An additional year’s funding would enable the project to be expanded to additional areas of the capital.

Proposed GLA funding: £50,000 for 2015/16.

To meet the physical and mental health needs of rough sleepers, , in line with priority 4 of the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework

To carry out a minimum of 1,300 1:1 engagements and 700 health promotional activities.  

Equality comments

3.1    Of those seen rough sleeping in 2013/14:
•    54% were non-UK nationals
•    46% had a mental health need
•    13% were women
•    most of those seen rough sleeping (57%) were in the 26-45 age group
•    12% were under 26 years old
•    10% were over 55
•    11 people were under 18.

3.2    As rough sleepers are over-represented among those with the protected characteristics of race and disability, the proposals in this paper are likely to have positive impacts on these groups.

Other considerations

a) Key risks and issues

 

Risk description

 

Rating

Mitigating action

 

Rough sleepers refuse to engage with Homeless Health Peer Advocacy Project

Green  

The experience of the project to date is that rough sleepers are willing to engage, primarily because of the innovative use of former rough sleepers as peer advocates.

b) Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

The objectives of the proposals are in line with the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework 2011-15 and its successor for 2016 onwards, as well as the Mayor’s statutory London Housing Strategy which includes the following priorities: to work with boroughs and other partners to ensure that no one new to the streets sleeps rough for a second night, no one lives on the streets of London and the flow of new rough sleepers onto the streets is minimised.

c) Impact assessments and consultations.

The Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework 2011-15 was made available for public consultation and was subject to a full equalities impact assessment. It successor, for 2016 onwards, was subject to consultation with key stakeholders. The statutory London Housing Strategy has been subject to a full-integrated impact assessment and undergone statutory consultation with the London Assembly and functional bodies and with the public.

 

Financial comments

5.1    The GLA’s 2015-17 Business Plan allocates £8.45 million for the Mayor’s rough sleeping services in 2015/16 and there is sufficient uncommitted funding within this budget to meet the proposed costs. 

5.2     The Programme, Policy and Services Unit of the Housing and Land Directorate, will be responsible for monitoring and managing the grant and ensuring that all activities and associated expenditure comply with the Authority’s Financial Regulations, Contracts and Funding Code and Expenses and Benefits Framework.

 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

6.1    The GLA will continue to monitor the service on a quarterly basis to assess performance against targets. The performance of the service will be reported to the quarterly internal Rough Sleeping Group convened by the Deputy Mayor for Housing Land and Property.

Appendices and supporting papers

Appendix 1 Previous Performance targets 2014/15

Milestone

Evidence

Target

Advocates support homeless people to attend health appointments

Meeting records filled out for every appointment

1000

On-going engagement with health services

In reach records, evaluation forms for training

40

Advocates worked with

Attendance at team meetings

30

Training new advocates

Training registers

12

Health Promotion In Reach sessions

In reach record filled out for each session

200

Appendix 2 Performance targets 2015/16

 

Milestone

Targets

Advocates support homeless people to attend health appointments

1300

Health Promotion In Reach sessions

700

Expansion into new local authority areas

3