Council spends £88m to end B&B scandal
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
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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.
homesandproperty.co.uk/ 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