If the Homelessness Reduction Act, introduced in 2018, has improved dramatically the homelessness prevention services delivered in England, it also created a new set of challenges for housing officers. One of them is the time spent writing up individual Personal Housing Plans (PHP) for applicants.
Developing a PHP for each individual is a long process that can take up to 2-3 hours, especially when including the initial needs assessment interview. Often the result is that housing officers need to spend more time crafting the plan itself rather than focusing on prevention/relief casework actions. Or worse, providing poor quality and rushed housing plans due to time constraints.
Why are Personal Housing Plans important?
A PHP housing plan is a legal requirement for local authorities and an essential part of the homelessness prevention and relief duty. It provides a holistic assessment of the applicant, including their housing and support needs and the circumstances that led to them becoming homeless.
The plan sets out the steps to be taken by both the local authority and housing applicant to either prevent homelessness or secure accommodation. The plan should include a mix of mandatory actions, recommended steps and information about support services, such as health services, employment and more.
It is, in effect, a written agreement between the housing officer and the homeless applicant and aims to ensure they have somewhere suitable to live for at least the next six months.
Speedy generation of Personal Housing Plans through hope
Recognising the challenge facing local authorities, Home Connections partnered with legislation-specialists Housing Reviews to create a kit of personal housing plan templates covering each different assessment outcome. The templates are part of the hope homelessness prevention toolkit.
With this intelligent hope feature, housing officers can produce PHP housing plans in just two minutes while ensuring they are of good quality and legally sound. By using the templates, many of our customers have witnessed improved workload management. Karen McGreal from Arun District Council said that her team has particularly benefitted from “the ease and speed at which PHPs can be produced”.
Within the PHP toolkit, housing officers can:
- Select from a menu of pre-set actions to include in the plan or create unique actions
- Set completion dates for actions
- Label actions as required, recommended or optional
- Add personal or applicant notes separately to the PHP
- Monitor due PHP actions for each case through the Hope dashboard
Along with the PHP templates, the hope system also provides over 60 system-integrated letter templates that are regularly updated and an intelligent checker to ensure HRA compliance in all aspects.
Find out how Westminster City Council uses hope, the HRA software, to deliver their homelessness strategy through a holistic approach