City Council considers acquiring flats and houses to help people at risk of homelessness


Worcester City Council is considering long term proposals to purchase or lease 62 flats and houses, in a bid to provide more temporary accommodation for people who are at risk of homelessness.

The City Council has seen a 40% increase in demand from people in need of housing assistance since the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 came in to force last April. This has increased the numbers placed in temporary accommodation, as well as the average length of stay there.

Analysis by officers indicates that 62 additional units would bridge the gap between the current demand for emergency temporary housing and the amount of suitable housing available in Worcester.

When the Communities Committee meets on 30 January, councillors will initially consider whether to acquire and refurbish between ten and 12 housing units.

"The City Council wants to improve the amount and quality of temporary accommodation which is available to people at risk of homelessness," says Cllr Lynn Denham, Vice Chair of the Communities Committee.

"We also want to reduce the number of temporary placements in B&Bs and be able to move people more quickly in to suitable longer term accommodation. Ultimately we want to give families and individuals the support they need to resolve issues, so they can look forward to a brighter future."

Up to eight units, which the City Council already owns but had previously leased out to Sanctuary Housing, are located on Bromyard Road. A further four units, located on Oldbury Road, could be fully leased to the Council from the Platform Housing Group (formerly Fortis Living).

If the Communities Committee supports the recommendations, which are in line with budget proposals put forward last year to support vulnerable tenants, the Council's Policy and Resources Committee will then be asked to agree funding to refurbish and renovate the Bromyard Road properties; to meet further delivery requirements across both locations; and to recruit three new staff to support the families who would move in.

The accommodation would be used to house families with a range of housing and/or support needs, with the proposed length of stay being between six and 12 months. During this period council staff would provide the families with needs-led support, with the aim of enhancing their independent living skills.

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