Coun­cil spends £88m to end B&B scan­dal

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Homes and Property - - News -

ALONDON coun­cil is to in­vest tens of mil­lions of pounds in buy­ing hun­dreds of homes to put an end to the mis­ery and ex­or­bi­tant cost of hous­ing the home­less in bed-and­break­fast ac­com­mo­da­tion,

Waltham For­est, where more than £3.4 mil­lion is spent ev­ery year on emer­gency hous­ing, has agreed to go into part­ner­ship with hous­ing man­age­ment firm Mears to buy 400 homes in the bor­ough and be­yond to put a roof over the heads of peo­ple in hous­ing cri­sis.

Al­most 100 house­holds in the bor­ough live in B&Bs, while an­other 2,326 fam­i­lies are in “a form of tem­po­rary or hos­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion”. An­other 8,496 are on the coun­cil’s hous­ing wait­ing list and with af­ford­able hous­ing at a pre­mium, hun­dreds more are ex­pected to join them over the com­ing months. “The use of tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion has VISIT

for de­tails of our usual pro­mo­tion rules. When you re­spond to pro­mo­tions, of­fers or com­pe­ti­tions, the Lon­don Evening Stan­dard and its sis­ter com­pa­nies may con­tact you with rel­e­vant of­fers and ser­vices that may be of in­ter­est. Please give your mo­bile num­ber and/or email ad­dress if you would like to re­ceive such of­fers by text or email.

Ed­i­to­rial: 020 3615 2650 Ad­ver­tise­ment man­ager: Ann Fi­nan Ad­ver­tis­ing: 020 3615 0266 Homes & Prop­erty, North­cliffe House, 2 Derry Street, Kens­ing­ton, Lon­don W8 5TT. grown due to in­creas­ing de­mand and the lack of af­ford­able hous­ing,” said Dar­ren Welsh, di­rec­tor of hous­ing. “This is cost­ing the coun­cil in ex­cess of £3.4 mil­lion per an­num. In 2017/18 we ex­pect the num­ber in tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion to reach 2,737, un­less mit­i­ga­tion plans are put in place.”

The coun­cil plans to bor­row £88 mil­lion to buy one-, two-, and three-bed­room homes, one in five of which will be in Waltham For­est. But with an av­er­age spend per prop­erty of £220,000 in a bor­ough where ter­race houses cost an av­er­age £536,742 and flats an av­er­age £354,191, ac­cord­ing to Right­move, the coun­cil will also house hunt else­where in east Lon­don and into Es­sex and Hert­ford­shire.

Fi­nan­cially, the project could pay off over the long term if Lon­don prop­erty prices con­tinue to rise. It is planned that the scheme will last for 40 years, dur­ing which time Mears will man­age the homes in re­turn for a 50 per cent stake in the as­sets.

By 2058 the prop­er­ties will be worth an es­ti­mated £200 mil­lion and the coun­cil will have re­paid more than half of its debt, leav­ing it com­fort­ably in the black. Ac­cord­ing to home­less char­ity Shel­ter, around one in ev­ery 200 peo­ple in Bri­tain is ei­ther home­less or liv­ing in in­ad­e­quate hous­ing. More than half the 300,000 home­less peo­ple are in Lon­don.

Fresh tac­tics:

home­sand­prop­ rules Waltham­stow, where the lo­cal coun­cil spends £3.4 mil­lion a year on B&B for the home­less. Now it plans to spend £88m buy­ing 400 homes, hop­ing to ease the cri­sis and cut costs in the long term

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