It’s was another good year for the Dundee & Angus Shared Empty Homes Project. On Monday, the project was announced as the winner of the ‘Outstanding Service’ category at the Scottish Empty Homes Conference.
The award was presented to our officer Sean Maxwell by Kevin Stewart, Minister of Local Government, Housing & Planning. Sean won the Outstanding Individual prize in last year’s awards.
Dundee & Angus Shared Service Empty Homes Project
The Dundee & Angus Shared Service Empty Homes Project was introduced in collaboration with the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership in December 2015. It is one of only two Empty Homes Officer posts in Scotland employed in a partnership agreement between two local authorities. Over the 2 full financial years that the service has been operating the Empty Homes Officer has played a fundamental role in returning 106 properties to residential use, helping to bring an estimated £1.3 million into the local economy per annum. Overall outcomes achieved by the shared service go far beyond exceeding set targets year on year, with results 32.5% above set targetsTo find more details on the Empty Homes initiative see our website.
Our Communities Team is speaking to residents about setting up a residents’ group in West Carnoustie (see the map below) and in this area.
Our Communities Officer, Mark Johnston, said:
There has been some interest shown in having a residents group in the West Carnoustie area to consider issues faced by residents and improve services available to people in the community.
We will support this and believe it is important that local people are able to have their say about the area where they live and the services provided.
Officers from the Carnoustie Locality Team (wearing Angus Council ID badges) will be in the area until Friday 14tDecember with a short survey to get local views.
They will be using the ‘Place Standard’ questionnaire which is designed to help us all identify good and not so good areas and focus resources where they are needed most.
If our staff members do not manage to call when you are in or if you would prefer to complete the questionnaire online in your own time please go to Place Standard online questionnaire .The data is automatically made anonymous so we only get your views and no identifying data is stored.
If you do not want us to come to your door or if you would like to arrange a time to meet with us or if you are interested in being part of a residents group or attending a meeting please let us know your contact details. All information gathered will treated confidentially, used solely for the purpose of the community consultation and will not be shared with any third parties.
Please contact us through the Communities Office – Telephone: 01241 803598 or Email: email@example.com
Following the completion of the survey we will be holding a feedback event to which interested people will be invited. We will share the anonymised results of the survey with residents and, if appropriate, we will be able to give a community-based group support and advice to help them take any issues forward.
A 5-year Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan was approved by Councillors in last week. As we mentioned in the previous post, Local Authorities, have been asked by the Scottish Government to work with local partners to bring forward a 5-year plan by December 2018.
This is a new policy to address homelessness more pro-actively; through prevention, by moving people through temporary accommodation quicker, and by improving the support they receive through better co-ordination.
Prevention will be the first priority, and that means directing resources to things such as mental health support, combating substance abuse, and helping prevent relationship breakdown. For those who do become homeless we will prioritise the allocation of our accommodation to them so that we can deliver the support they need to re-establish themselves quickly in the community. For that to happen we also need the help and understanding of the community.
We and our partners will also need to increase allocations to homeless households to 58% of all lets initially. So for us, out of the 800 changes of tenancy in the first year, we estimate that around 464 of those will be allocated to homeless households.
The main aim of the Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan will be provide long-term housing provision for Angus citizens, at a time when they are most vulnerable.
This plan sets out how we in Angus can achieve that aim over the next 5 years. Successful implementation of the plan will result in:
- Increased focus on prevention, to reduce homeless applications
- Reduced the time it takes to process homeless cases
- Reduced time spent in temporary accommodation
- Reducing the number of temporary accommodation units and instead helping support people into permanent housing quicker
- Increasing tenancy sustainment
A personalised financial advice service is now open for low income families and older people.
The new Financial Health Check service is funded by the Scottish Government for the next two years.
Low income families and older people can get personalised advice on money matters, from reducing household energy costs to accessing grants such as the Best Start Grant and the School Clothing Grant. This will help people avoid the “poverty premium” of paying more for essential goods and services.
The Financial Health Check service is free and delivered over the phone (free telephone number 0800 085 7145) or face to face at Citizens Advice Bureaux.
For more details see the Scottish Government website
Our acclaimed affordable housing development at Academy Court in Forfar picked up its first award last night at the Dundee Institute of Architects annual recognition of the best new architecture and design in Tayside. The renewal of the old school buildings into fresh and vibrant new Council homes for rent was voted best group housing project.
The scheme has also been short listed for a number of other awards. Perhaps more importantly though, the new homes have been given huge approval by the community for whom the buildings play such an important role in the social fabric of Forfar.
See our previous post for other awards which could come Academy Court’s way.
Our ambitious Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) was approved by Councillors this week. It plans to deliver more than 600 new affordable homes in Angus by March 2024. This will be delivered in partnership with our housing association partners to provide affordable homes for social rent across Angus. The investment plan has been submitted to the Scottish Government for approval.
The plans set out how best to use over £44 million from the Affordable Housing Supply Programme for building affordable homes in Angus to meet housing need and create places that people can be proud to call home.
Communities Convener, Cllr Mark Salmond said:
This is an ambitious investment plan, but one that with our housing partners, we are committed to delivering upon. Everyone should have access to good quality, affordable housing and a place to call home. This investment will help us deliver that as well as support plans, also approved by the Council today, to ensure people who experience homelessness can access settled housing as quickly as possible.
We want people and families to feel that where they live provides much more than just a roof over their heads. We are committed to delivering good quality, safe, secure, sustainable and affordable housing within environments that meet people’s needs. That includes adapted, specialist and supported housing.
This announcement is also great news for the construction sector in Angus, bringing the certainty that comes from knowing there will be continued investment in house-building from the Council and our housing association partners.
Our performance in 2017/18 was the subject of an Information Report to our Communities Committee this week. You can read the full report here.
In general, performance improved across the board, with some exceptions. Some of the main headlines were:
• Improvements in arrears, void loss and relet times
• Improvements in appointments kept
• Slight declines in SHQS passes and repairs completed first time
• Improvements in tenancies sustained over a year and time spent in temporary accommodation
• Improvement in antisocial behaviour cases resolved
We aim to keep improving and have set ambitious targets with the help of our Tenant Steering Group for 2018/19.
We haven’t undertaken a full tenant customer satisfaction survey for 2 years, so we will soon be contacting tenants to ask for their views on our services.
If you want to know more about Housing performance since 2015/16, you can view our Charter report card.
Universal Credit brings lots of changes for people affected. Moving to monthly payments and having housing costs paid directly, means people have to adapt to manage their monthly payments and paying bills. The Universal Credit service is delivered online and some people may need help to understand and operate it.
To support those affected, Universal Credit advice and support sessions will take place in Angus from 5 November to 7 December.
For more details please see the timetable below:
The Academy Court housing development was opened in July this year and has already been entered and shortlisted for various awards:
MJ Awards – the project was commended in the Best Social Housing Initiative category
Inside Housing Development Awards –the development is one of the finalists in the Best affordable housing development (26 -70 homes) category
The Inside Housing Development Awards are an opportunity for landlords, developers and architects to enter their best developments and teams to be recognised in the UK.
An expert panel of judges has short listed entries across 14 categories for 2018 and will subsequently meet to discuss and decide the eventual winners, which will be revealed on Thursday 29 November.
SURF Awards – shortlisted
The purpose of the SURF Awards is:
- To recognise and reward best practice and innovation in community regeneration;
- To promote and disseminate best practice across Scotland as means of sharing knowledge and experience, and thereby enhancing future policy and practice;
- To highlight the role that regeneration projects have in improving the wellbeings panel of 20 judges, drawn from national bodies and community groups, have agreed upon 15 shortlisted projects for 2018. The judging panel visited on 25 October for a presentation and visit to the site, results will be announced on 6 December.
Dundee Institute of Architects – shortlisted in the Best Group Housing and Regeneration Category.
Judges visited the site on Wednesday 10 October and winners will be announced on 15 November 2018.
Angus Design Awards – Awards and commendations will be announced spring 2019. Submissions are invited for completed developments that have had a positive impact within the local area.
We recently contacted all our tenants by letter or email to advise about the changes to Scottish Secure Tenancy rights made by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014.
Succession and assignation rules will change in April 2019, so tenants need to make sure their household details are up to date now.
Tenants need to tell us if:
- anyone has moved into their household but they haven’t yet told us
- anyone has moved out of their home
- anyone will be moving in or out of their home in the future
The main message is that if a tenant’s household has changed, they need to let us know to protect their tenancy, and the tenancy rights of other members of the household
Tenants can report any tenancy changes by using our Report a tenancy change online form.
You can view the message we sent to our tenants in this document.