Colchester Council to purchase homes worth £3m to fight homelessness

Members of Colchester Borough Council’s Cabinet are set to discuss proposals to purchase up to16 homes for use as temporary accommodation for homeless households, at a meeting on 31st January 2018.

If approved, the plan would see up to £1 million of Affordable Housing New Homes Bonus income allocated to fund a proportion of the purchase costs of 16 properties, up to a value of £2.9 million.

Members will also be asked to agree to continue the purchase, for use as permanent accommodation, of former council properties brought back under the Right of First Refusal legislation, where these offer good value for money and are in areas of high housing need.

Speaking ahead of the Cabinet meeting, Cllr Tina Bourne (Lab), Portfolio Holder for Housing and Communities, said: “While the Council and its partners have had some real successes in preventing homelessness from occurring, the number of households in temporary accommodation has continued to rise in recent years.

“These proposals are about trying to use every resource and creative solution at our disposal, and in a cost-effective way, to tackle homelessness and help our residents.”

Changes to the way the Allocations Policy is implemented will also be discussed – with a proposal for Colchester Borough Homes to work with Registered Providers to ensure homeless households do not spend unnecessarily long periods of time in temporary accommodation.

A further proposal would see £100,000 of New Homes Bonus income and £150,000 from the Government’s Flexible Homelessness Support Grant used to fund a two-year pilot scheme offering new incentives to private landlords – to increase the supply of private sector rented accommodation and assess the value for money of these incentives.

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