Increase planned move-on of hostel clients from 80% to >90% by 2016
"Unplanned move-on" from the hostel is where a client leaves prior to being considered ready for independent living. The reasons for this include eviction due to repeated breaking of hostel rules (needed to ensure a safe, positive environment for clients), being taken into custody, admitted to hospital or discharging themselves. The probability is that these clients will return to being homeless.
The Hertfordshire Supporting People initiative (now Housing Related Support) sets a target for planned move-on of 70%. In 2003, we achieved a figure well below this figure at 46%. However, this has steadily increased and in both 2011 and 2012 was 80%. Ultimately, we do not want any clients leaving the hostel unplanned. We will work with clients, where risk issues are identified, to ensure all clients remain at the hostel until they are ready to move into second-stage accommodation.
Increase supported second-stage accommodation available for hostel clients
The support needs of clients vary considerably such that some are ready to move on in a matter of months whereas others may require a year or more. On average, we have about 60 clients per year moving on (planned) from the hostel. This compares to the average number of referrals of about 500 a year i.e. we are only able to meet about 12% of demand. In order to increase this figure, we need to focus support provision on minimising the time clients remain in the hostel although we will remain client-focused and not rush people through the system. Also important is to ensure there is sufficient availability of suitable move-on accommodation. As such, we will seek to acquire additional move-on properties.
Improve the physical and mental health outcomes for clients
Homeless people, particularly rough sleepers, are prone to deterioration in physical health such as chronic chest or breathing problems. The University of Sheffield "Homelessness Kills" report (2012) reported the average life expectancy for a homeless person in this country to be 47 years. Many will have undiagnosed physical health issues relating to substance abuse. Based on information declared on referral, an average of around 20% of clients admitted to the hostel in Stevenage have alcohol-related needs and a similar number drug problems.
From our data, those declaring mental health problems on referral average around 20% of the total. However, the true figure is likely to be higher; St Mungo's publication "Down and Out" (2009) reports up to 70% of homeless people as having mental health problems.
Increase the opportunities for clients securing employment when they move-on from the hostel
Over 97% of those entering the hostel are not employed. Getting clients on the path to finding a job is an important part of them having structure, focus and a sense of purpose. We do great work with clients in building the so-called "soft skills" important in everyday life as well as in progressing into education, training or employment. These include social interaction, self-esteem and self-confidence.
We currently signpost courses run by the job centre and local college. However, some clients lack the basic skills and motivation needed to take up these opportunities. In addition to our work on "soft" skills, we will provide in-house training in basic literacy, numeracy and IT. To help clients with focus and direction, we will work with local businesses and the public sector to provide a client mentoring scheme. Finally, we will take measures to increase client participation in volunteering looking at starting a social enterprise project and incentivising clients to undertake voluntary work.
Reduce homelessness amongst ex-residents and other vulnerable groups by contributing to preventative measures
Overall evictions, relating to combined landlord evictions and repossessions, are locally very high with the figure for Stevenage being the third highest in the East of England. Ex-residents from Stevenage Haven are likely to be at greater risk than other local people of experiencing eviction. There will be other vulnerable groups who are also more likely to be evicted. We will work with other agencies, such as Citizens Advice Bureau, to prevent homelessness by providing support to vulnerable groups.
Deliver and manage services and operation of the charity in a cost-effective, consistent and sustainable manner with a target to reduce our overheads.
We will review our policies and procedures in the context of our Vision, Mission, Values and service delivery goals and make changes where appropriate. These will be implemented in the operation of both the new hostel in Stevenage and North Herts Sanctuary.