It is clear that the private rented sector has become increasingly important as a mechanism for authorities to fulfil their obligations to households who they owe the main housing duty. The proposal would work extensively with households that are threatened with homelessness or that have become homeless to identify what information would be of assistance to support them to take positive action to prevent or relieve their homelessness.
This information would be captured and developed as part of a digital tool that would capture key household data, establish the location of affordable accommodation and link the client to the accommodation directly. The tool would also offer guidance and support for households as they seek to find PRS accommodation. In this way the tool would reflect the requirements of service users whilst also supporting them directly to identify appropriate accommodation.
Effectively empowering clients to take independent actions that resolve their housing problems is a challenge faced by other local authorities. It is anticipated that the digital tool would be adaptable to different local contexts. The solution would be particularly applicable to an increasing number of people who are digitally literate and whose primary cause of homelessness is income and affordability.
Almost 50% of homeless households to whom a duty was accepted in Lewisham had presented as a consequence of the loss of their assured shorthold tenancy. This was also the largest single reason for homeless acceptance across England. Between 2014/15 and 2016/17, the number of social lets in England decreased by almost 10%, in Lewisham there has been a decrease in social lets of over 40% since 2010/11. ONS & GLA evidence shows that there has been a 64% increase in the private rented sector between 2006 and 2016.
It is clear that the PRS is increasingly significant as a source of affordable accommodation for low income households. National and local statistics show that it is now larger than the social rented sector, that it accommodates a large number of low income households, and that it is increasingly the tenure type that households are approaching authorities for homeless assistance from.
Lewisham have also commissioned internal reports that detail the homelessness and temporary accommodation experience for homeless households, which reflect substantially on the need for clear, concise, readily available support for households to access alternative sources of accommodation.
- Introduction to user research
- Introduction to service design
- Introduction to digital business analysis