Next week Council Cabinet are due to consider some important changes to the way Housing Related Support is provided in Derby. These services offer a lifeline to vulnerable residents, such as those who have experienced domestic abuse, who are at risk of homelessness or who suffer from drug and alcohol dependency issues.
Through facilities like Milestone and Centenary House, we provide safe and secure spaces where residents are supported to address the issues that may be affecting them. But cuts to the funding the Council receives from the Government have meant that we need to think about different ways to deliver these vitally important services.
By working closely with our partners, we have identified new ways of funding and delivering Housing Related Support to those at risk of homelessness.
Under the recommendations to be considered, Derby Homes will continue to support the delivery of a domestic violence refuge, as well as providing services for the homeless at Milestone House and through the Single Point of Entry. These will be offered through the existing Housing Options service.
Public Health will take over funding services at Centenary House, which provides housing support for those with drug and alcohol issues. Under their stewardship, the service will have a renewed focus on supporting people with these complex issues avoid hospital admission.
Finally, negotiations with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) have secured funding for the High Risk Offender programme from March 2017, with the PCC now providing a combined service for Derby and Derbyshire.
I believe these plans offer a sustainable means of fulfilling the Council’s statutory and moral obligations to vulnerable people in our city. What is most important is not whether these services are directly provided by the Council, but that they are accessible to those residents who need them.
Between November 2016 and January 2017, a public consultation was carried out that allowed service users to have their say. More than 200 people responded and I was pleased to note that a significant majority agree with the recommendations. Together with my Cabinet colleagues, I will be taking their feedback on board when we consider the matter next week.
We cannot deny that Government cuts have had a devastating impact on public services in Derby, but we have shown that we can find innovative ways to protect those which we consider to be of fundamental importance.
Partnership working is the only way forward if we are to ensure that our services continue to meet the needs of vulnerable people in Derby. That’s why I will be speaking in favour of the proposals for Housing Related Support when they are considered by Council Cabinet on 8 February.