Council meetings

Agenda and minutes

Contact: John Bardens (02083149976) 

No. Item


Minutes of the meeting held on 25 October 2016 pdf icon PDF 330 KB


Resolved: the Committee agreed the minutes of the last meeting as a true record


Declarations of interest pdf icon PDF 201 KB


The following non-prejudicial interests were declared:


·         Councillor Slater is a member of the board of Phoenix Community Housing


·         Councillor Reid is a member of the board of Lewisham Homes


Responses from Mayor and Cabinet


There were no responses for this meeting.


Housing and mental health - evidence session pdf icon PDF 118 KB

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Clare Hopkins (Lewisham Homes), Maggie Houghton (Hyde Housing), Michael Munson (Bromley and Lewisham Mind), James Forrester (SLAM), and Peter Wood (999 Club Lewisham) introduced themselves and spoke about their work.

James Forrester (SLAM) spoke. The following key points were noted:

·         SLAM run two primary intake services in Lewisham: the Increasing Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) service and the Assessment and Liaison service based at Southbrook Road.

·         The Assessment and Liaison service is there to help people who may be approaching crisis point. It aims to stabilise people within 12 weeks, but it often takes much longer.

·         The main reason it takes longer is that there are often a number of other background factors that can’t be resolved within 12 weeks – for example, immigration status, not being able to speak English, having been displaced as a result of war, or having been illegally trafficked.

·         There are all sorts of problems that people are going through that aren’t necessarily to do with a particular mental disorder, but which seriously affect people’s lives and wellbeing. These are almost inevitably related to housing and tenancy, money and debt, or not being able to get back into work.

·         The service will try to help people to maintain their tenancy or find another. If people are having serious housing and money problems they’re unlikely to make a successful recovery with mental health treatment alone. The influence of people’s wider problems is a significant problem.      

·         90% of referrals to the Assessment and Liaison service come from GPs. Other referrals come from the police, probation services, and the social work team at the Ladywell Unit.

·         A clear agreement between all the relevant agencies in the borough setting out how people with low-level mental health issues should be helped is a really good idea – SLAM is not aware of anything like this in Lewisham.

Michael Munson (Bromley and Lewisham Mind) spoke. The following key points were made:

·         Mind’s Community Support service in Lewisham is a primary care service. It provides short-term interventions of around 12 weeks, but background factors like language, poverty, and chaotic situations mean it can take longer.

·         The Mind service usually sees people who either haven’t met the criteria for secondary level care or who are being stepped down from secondary level care. By intervening early on the service is able to help people feel better, but without other support there is always a risk of them sliding back.

·         27% of referrals come from secondary level services, this includes 19% from the Assessment and Liaison service. 20% of referrals come from GPs. Only a handful come from housing providers. 85% of all referrals mention anxiety and depression.

·         Last year, 32% of people referred to Mind’s Community Support Service had a housing issue. 25% of these lived in the private rented sector.

·         Most housing issues are to do with repairs and rent arears. Living in poor conditions and not feeling like you can go to the landlord, which is often the case in private  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Monitoring homelessness and temporary accommodation pressures pdf icon PDF 11 KB

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Genevieve Macklin (Head of Strategic Housing) introduced the report and the Committee made a number of comments. The following key points were noted:

·         The number of homeless applications across London this year is up by 10% (19,200). The number in temporary accommodation is up by 8% (51,940). The number in nightly paid accommodation is up by 18% (18,130).

·         There are 1,787 households in temporary accommodation in Lewisham – this is about average for London. 424 Lewisham residents are in temporary accommodation out of the borough, mostly in neighbouring boroughs. 

·         An increasing number of homeless households are being evicted from the private rented sector. Together with evictions from family and friends, eviction from the private rented sector represents 80% of homeless households.

·         The number of Lewisham residents in temporary accommodation has stabilised in recent years as a result of increasing homelessness prevention, in-borough temporary accommodation, and out-of-borough placements. The numbers of residents in nightly paid accommodation has reduced.

·         Future initiatives to reduce numbers in temporary accommodation include: changes to the allocations policy; using the private rented sector to discharge homeless duty; and more unit acquisitions.

·         The Homeless Reduction Bill, which is being supported by the government, will require councils to provide more proactive support to single homeless people as well as households. In Lewisham, this could lead to an increased caseload of 2,200 for the housing needs service. The Government has indicated that extra funding will be made available. 


Resolved: the Committee noted the update.



Allocations scheme consultation pdf icon PDF 888 KB

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Madeleine Jeffery (Private Sector Housing Agency Manager) and Nina Morris (Lettings & Support Service Manager) introduced the report and the Committee made a number of comments. The following key points were noted:

·         The officer report outlines the results of the consultation on changes to the housing allocations policy – the main change being the extension of the local connection from two to five years. The extended five-year rule will not apply to people who are homeless.


Resolved: the Committee noted the report.



Key housing issues pdf icon PDF 267 KB

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Michael Westbrook (Housing Policy and Partnerships Manager) introduced the report and the Committee made a number of comments. The following key points were noted:

·         The PLACE/Ladywell temporary accommodation scheme has been nominated for two more awards. Officers are currently looking at other possible sites and will come back with proposals in the future.

·         The results of consultation on the handypersons scheme showed that the large majority of people who had used the service were happy with it, but that they would not be willing to pay an amount for the service that would cover the cost to the council of running it.

·         Officers have explored alternative ways of providing the handyperson service (Bromley Police, Age UK and Lewisham Homes) but none would have made the services financially viable.


Resolved: the Committee noted the report and agreed to refer its views on the handypersons service to Mayor and Cabinet.


The committee notes that many Lewisham residents turn to the Council as a source of reliable and trustworthy services. The committee is concerned that some people may find it difficult without this or a similar service to turn to. With this in mind, the committee notes that Lewisham Homes already has a similar service in place and recommends that officers speak to Lewisham Homes to find out if it could be viable for them to provide the handypersons service at a reasonable price. The Committee recommend trialling any arrangement for a year – keeping the revenue and expenses separate from the Housing Revenue Account.



Select Committee work programme pdf icon PDF 185 KB

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Resolved: the Committee agreed the work programme.  


Referrals to Mayor and Cabinet


Resolved: the Committee agreed to refer its view on the handyperson service to Mayor and Cabinet.