FINDING ALTERNATIVES TO B&Bs FOR HOMELESS FAMILIES – AND GETTING TOUGH ON EMPTY PROPERTIES
FINDING ALTERNATIVES TO B&Bs FOR HOMELESS FAMILIES
Croydon council are set to increase its supply of short-term housing for homeless families with the acquisition of 189 flats.
Subject to cabinet approval on Monday July 14th, it will enter into separate 10 year leases of Concord house and Sycamore house in London Road, Croydon, which are undergoing refurbishment. The lease for Sycamore House includes the option of a break after five years.
A Croydon spokesman said: “It will mean that homeless families can live in self-contained accommodation with their own kitchen and bathrooms rather than costly and unsuitable bed and breakfasts.
“We estimate it will save more than £2 million over the duration of the leases but more importantly offers a far better option for families or individuals faced with becoming homeless.
“A recent survey of families in bed and breakfast accommodation in the borough found that nearly half are single parents with a single child, meaning these flats will be a better option than bed and breakfasts for short-term use” he added.
The 189 units comprise 149 purpose-built studios and 40 one bed flats. Eight of the flats in Concord House are designed for disabled use. The accommodation is expected to be available at the start of next year.
Cabinet member for homes and regeneration Cllr Alison Butler said: “Placing a family in shared bed and breakfast accommodation is never a favourable option, which is why we have to look at alternative ways of finding accommodation.
“By entering into these leases, it will enable us to provide a much better standard of short-term accommodation for families, which at the same time is less expensive for the Croydon taxpayer.
“In the long term, more affordable homes must be built and the council is taking all action possible to maximise affordable homes in the borough.” (Source: Croydon council press release)
GETTING TOUGH ON EMPTY PROPERTIES
TOUGH new measures to crack down on empty properties are being set down in a series of “tough” new priorities by Croydon council.
These include plans to make greater use of existing legislation such as compulsory purchase orders of empty homes, and using empty dwelling management orders to bring properties back into use.
Croydon will also negotiate buying empty properties and work with banks and building societies to repossess those homes in a poor condition.
Croydon are also looking to invest £1 million in empty property grants to encourage owners to refurbish and bring them back into use.
The maximum amount available will be £25,000 per property on the condition it is let to the council for a household in need of a home.
Cabinet member for homes and regeneration Cllr Alison Butler said: “This administration is making it a priority to target empty properties.
“It will help to address the shortage of housing available to families in need and help clean up the borough as part of our Don’t Mess With Croydon: Take Pride campaign.
“While thousands of families are on the council’s housing waiting list for a home, we will not tolerate empty home owners denying others a decent home to live in.
“Empty homes are also often run down and in a severe state of disrepair – an eyesore which other residents should not have to put up with.”
The council’s cabinet is set to approve the plans on Monday July 14th.
A Croydon council statement says: “A key part of the council’s ‘Don’t Mess With Croydon: Take Pride’ campaign to clean up the borough, the initiative includes stepping up efforts to identify and encourage owners to bring properties back into use, and a promotion campaign to raise awareness of the support available to empty home owners.
“There will be big improvements to the information available to empty property owners, via council communications such as the website and council tax letters, along with local media and advertising boards.
“A dedicated hotline will be set up as well as the opportunity to report empty homes using the My Croydon app.” (Source: Croydon council press release)