Flintshire Council looks to improve homeless provision for young people
Flintshire Council is exploring the creation of a Young Persons Hub and more emergency bed provision to help with homelessness in the county.
The council’s Corporate Resources and Overview Scrutiny Committee is to look at projects as part of its Capital Programme going forward.
This covers investment in assets for the long term, with a view to improving public services.
Measures to reduce rough sleeping and improve the accommodation available to those who find themselves homeless have been identified as an ambition for the council in a report to be discussed by members on Thursday.
The report, authored by the council’s Chief Executive, Corporate Manager for Capital Programme and Assets, and Corporate Finance Manager, says: “Responding to the needs of young people and particularly those who may be at a risk of homelessness is a key focus for the Council.
“Consideration needs to be given to not only accommodation needs but also support to assist young people with the key life skills needed to live independently and reduce risks of homelessness.
“The Housing and Communities Portfolio is considering opportunities for the development of a Young Persons Hub which will seek to provide a number of units of self-contained accommodation with support onsite.
“This could potentially extend to provision of housing and homelessness advice and support and facilities for co-location of young person focussed services within a ‘housing hub’.
A feasibility study for the potential hub will be undertaken, but the report adds that outside funding may be needed to deliver it.
As well as the Young Persons Hub, the council is also exploring suitable locations for purpose-built homeless accommodation to add to the Glanrafon shelter which has been developed in Queensferry.
The report states: “In late 2019, the Council undertook work to develop an Emergency Bed provision for people who are homeless and may otherwise face the prospect of sleeping rough.
“Significant works were completed within the Glanrafon Resource Centre in Queensferry to transform the building into a Night Shelter offering up to 12 Emergency Beds.
“The Council, as the owner of the building, completed refurbishment works and then partnered with The Wallich, to deliver the support required to safely operate the Night Shelter.
“At present there are 23 portable cabins on site offering self-contained accommodation but this is not of a standard we wish to sustain and need to develop a purpose built provision offering high quality self-contained accommodation.
“Following the COVID-19 pandemic, further guidance has been issued by Welsh Government regarding the future direction of homelessness service. In the guidance there is a clear steer towards offering high quality self-contained accommodation for people experiencing homelessness.”
The report adds: “The Glanrafon Homeless Hub was always considered a short to medium term solution for rough sleeping in Flintshire but the Covid pandemic has prolonged the need for the provision and the model has developed significantly.
“Sites are presently being considered with full feasibility studies to be undertaken to inform build plans and service planning.”
The council’s Corporate Resources and Overview Scrutiny Committee meets this Thursday (November 17) to discuss the capital programme for 2023/24 to 2025/26.
By Rory Sheehan – Local Democracy Reporter
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