Shropshire Council buying homes to help 'eradicate homelessness'

A new plan to buy 60 houses to provide temporary homes for the homeless is part of a plan to "eradicate homelessness" in the county, according to a senior councillor.

Councillor Dean Carroll has said Shropshire Council is committed to eradicating homelessness in the county
Councillor Dean Carroll has said Shropshire Council is committed to eradicating homelessness in the county

Shropshire Council will tomorrow vote on the proposal, which it says would save it around £1 million a year.

The authority says that the temporary homes would allow it to save money that it currently spends on B&Bs and other short-notice temporary accommodation.

Councillor Dean Carroll, the council's cabinet member for physical infrastructure, said the move was driven by the rise in the number of homeless people in the county.

He said: "Everybody deserves a home, and Shropshire Council, along with our housing partners, remain committed to eradicating homelessness around the county.

"In recent years we have seen and continue to see, an increase in homelessness and the associated need to provide temporary accommodation.

"This has further accelerated since the Government’s Covid 19 pandemic response and ‘Everyone In’ initiative in which temporary accommodation was provided to all those who were homeless, including those who would not normally be entitled to assistance under homelessness legislation."

Councillor Carroll said that the move would not only benefit those homeless people struggling to find accommodation, but would also provide significant savings for the council.

He said: "Due to the limited availability of suitable social and private housing for temporary accommodation use, this has led to reliance on the use of bed and breakfast accommodation which is both unsuitable and costly.

"The need to reduce rising costs of temporary accommodation for the homeless and to find a satisfactory solution for the council continues to be a significant issue.

"There is an urgent need to secure accommodation for residents and to reduce reliance on unsuitable and costly bed and breakfast placements.

"As a result of this, we have come up with a Sustainable Temporary Housing Solution for Shropshire.

"This will include the use of Section 106 commuted sums of £1.5m to acquire property for temporary accommodation to reduce the use of bed and breakfast.

"The proposed programme will ideally place the council to respond to this challenge, using its own assets to provide supported schemes with on-site management for those with the highest level of need, coupled with a stock of dispersed properties across the county."

Councillor Carroll said the homes would be managed by the council's social housing organisation, STaR Housing.

He said: "Shropshire Council are working with our ALMO (arms-length management organisation) Shropshire Towns and Rural (STaR) Housing to help increase the offer of temporary accommodation for those who are homeless and to purchase a portfolio of homes across the county, making appropriate provision to meet a range of needs.

"STaR Housing has a strong track record in supporting the council in its duty to provide temporary accommodation to individuals and households in housing need, with 96 homes made available to those in need of temporary housing during the pandemic.

"Accommodation would comprise of 60 separate units of accommodation, such as flats, houses and bungalows etc. These will be identified through working with STaR Housing.

He added: "We know that homelessness is not just about a lack of accommodation, but is often connected to a wider set of more complex needs and situations. It can also have a major impact on both a person’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.

"The proposed programme will not only ensure appropriate temporary accommodation to people to whom the authority has a statutory duty, but will provide those who are homeless, a more stable and safer environment to support and enhance their independence and wellbeing.

"The council and our partners are always seeking the help of the public to be eyes on the ground to help spot rough sleepers. If you see someone sleeping rough, please help by reporting this."

People can report rough sleepers who may need help via:

  • Streetlink: www.streetlink.org.uk or 03005 000914

  • Shropshire Council: Call 03456 789005 or email housingoptions@shropshire.gov.uk

  • The Shrewsbury Ark: Call 01743 363305

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