SHBC and its responsibilities towards homelessness in the Borough

Date: 

Monday, 17 December, 2018

There has been some recent social media activity regarding homelessness in Surrey Heath. Please read our response below: 

  

“SHBC have not ‘refused to work with’ the All Night Café (ANC) in Camberley – we have had meetings with their staff and continue to welcome a discussion with those running the ANC.  

  

As part of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 our focus on prevention (through The Hope Hub and our other housing services) as mentioned in the ANC’s post is actually a statutory responsibility.  

  

This legislation was introduced to ensure Councils work to firstly prevent, and then if required relieve, homelessness.   

  

Rather than ‘refusing to acknowledge’ the issue of homelessness, we are working hard to manage our responsibilities, and the Housing Team provide a comprehensive advice service to anyone local to Surrey Heath approaching us for assistance. 

  

This includes offering temporary accommodation or B&B to those people who fall within the categories of priority need set out in the legislation. 

  

Our Benefits team also do all we can to assist people in applying for the benefits and allowances they are entitled to. 

  

To endorse or recommend services by another organisation SHBC needs to ensure that overall governance meets standards relevant for those accessing the service. There are many safeguarding challenges that must be managed. We have met with the ANC in order to support them in this regard. 

  

The ANC also draws people from an area wider than Surrey Heath – the people using those services are the responsibility of the local authority where there is a local connection, rather than where the shelter is. For example, if someone using the ANC comes from Farnborough, Rushmoor BC are their local authority. 

  

Following our own research into homelessness, Churches Together have developed The Hope Hub – which offers a package of support for homeless people to help address the reason for homelessness in the first place, treating the cause rather than the symptoms.  

 

They’re based on London Road, Camberley - more information can be found at https://thehopehub.org.uk/ 

 

The Hope Hub and ANC work well together. 

  

We recognise that in Surrey Heath we are lucky to have a number of volunteers that give up their time and personal resources to help others. There are a number of initiatives across the Borough that rely on the support of our residents, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all those that work tirelessly to help others.