Shropshire Council in £5m plan to buy 60 homes to tackle homelessness

Sixty temporary homes for homeless people are set to be bought in Shropshire under a £5 million council plan.

Shropshire Council is intending to buy 60 houses to use as temporary homes for homeless people.
Shropshire Council is intending to buy 60 houses to use as temporary homes for homeless people.

Shropshire Council will be asked to approve the funding for the proposal at a meeting later this week, with the authority saying the homes could save it up to a million pounds a year.

It says the plan is needed as "homelessness cases currently continue to rise and show no signs of abating".

Currently the council has to pay for bed and breakfast and other short-notice accommodation to help people who are homeless.

It says that the plan to buy 60 temporary homes would allow it to house people who are homeless, without incurring extra cost.

The report, which will be considered at the meeting of full council, says that the properties would be managed by STaR Housing – the council's social housing arm, and that £1.5m of the money will come from Section 106 contributions from developers, and another £3.5m will be borrowed.

The paper outlines how the properties will be one or two-bedroom, and says the council will look to buy the freehold on homes, rather than building them from scratch.

A report from Jane Trethewey, the council's assistant director for homes and communities, and Laura Fisher, head of housing, resettlement and independent living, says the scheme will result in major reductions in outlay for the council.

It states: "The savings generated through the reduction in the use of bed and breakfast are estimated to in excess of £1m when all 60 units have been delivered.

"This would be a reduction of over 90 per cent of the potential bed and breakfast expenditure that would be required should these units not be delivered."

The paper follows the council's announcement of its intentions in 2020.

It says the situation has not improved in the intervening period, adding: "The council remains short of temporary accommodation and is still using bed and breakfast placements across the county.

"As at end October 2021, 95 households were in bed and breakfast accommodation.

"This position is unsuitable for households placed in such accommodation as well as financially costly to the council."

It says that one of the difficulties facing the homeless is a lack of available one-bedroom properties.

The report states: "The average number of people in bed and breakfast accommodation remains at 70 at any time, with approximately fifty per cent requiring supported temporary accommodation with on-site management and support.

"Most placements are single households who struggle to move on due to the lack of one-bedroom properties in the county. Homelessness cases currently continue to rise and show no signs of abating."

Councillors will discuss the plan at the meeting of full council which takes place at 10am on Thursday.

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