New plan to help improve housing services for vulnerable tenants in South Tyneside

Town hall bosses want better services for the homeless.
Town hall bosses want better services for the homeless.

Council bosses have revealed a new plan aiming to boost housing support services for vulnerable tenants in South Tyneside.

Last year, the council’s Place Select Committee launched a commission into homes in multiple occupation (HMOs) in the borough - aiming to explore what support available for people living in them, housing standards in the private rented sector and links to crime.

Coun Audrey McMillan

Coun Audrey McMillan

In the latest commission session at South Shields Town Hall, councillors discussed council-commissioned services in the borough.

Currently, eight charities and agencies deliver a mixture of support around mental ill health, homelessness, alcohol problems and services for young people.

A recent review of services, noted there was “mixed service user experience” and lack of awareness of help available.

Another concern included “disproportionate clustering” of housing support in certain areas.

Several councillors said their were issues with current housing support.

Coun Wilf Flynn raised concerns about lack of coordination between agencies providing services to a single person.

Committee chair, Coun Audrey McMillan, called for improved communication around anti-social behaviour linked to properties, and Coun Doreen Purvis said problems were often linked to lack of supervision and support.

She said: “We have had some nightmare problems with young people given tenancies next to working single people whose lives are made a misery by the fact there are parties and bad behaviour.

“It appears to be very difficult to resolve. I think monitoring and looking at good practices and trying to get those good practices into all forms of accommodation are essential.”

Commissioning bosses plan to introduce a new model – a consortium of providers – to improve partnership working and communication.

This would see single assessment introduced to reduce the need for repeated tests and introducing new technologies to improve communication.

Council bosses believe the new model – expected to roll out later this year- will boost performance, monitoring and support more vulnerable tenants into independence.

Head of Integrated Commissioning on the council, Janet Evans, said existing providers engaged “positively and constructively” in the review and recognised that “things were going to change”.

She added: “Now what we have is a way forward that will improve those commissioned services.”

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service