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Cabinet to consider further action to tackle homelessness in the Borough

Date issued: 24 January 2018

Members of Colchester Borough Council's Cabinet are set to discuss proposals to purchase up to 16 homes for use as temporary accommodation for homeless households, when they meet on 31 January 2018.

If approved by Full Council in February, the plan would see up to £1m of Affordable Housing New Homes Bonus income allocated to fund a proportion of the purchase costs of 16 properties up to a value of £2.9m.

Members will also be asked to agree to continue the purchase, for use as permanent accommodation, of former council properties brought back under the "right of first refusal" legislation, where these offer good value for money and are in areas of high housing need.

Changes to the way the Allocations Policy is implemented will also be discussed - with a proposal for Colchester Borough Homes to work with Registered Providers to ensure homeless households do not spend unnecessarily long periods of time in temporary accommodation.

And a further proposal would see £100,000 of New Homes Bonus income and £150,000 from the Government's Flexible Homelessness Support Grant used to fund a two-year pilot scheme offering new incentives to private landlords -- to increase the supply of private sector rented accommodation and assess the value for money of these incentives.

Speaking ahead of the Cabinet meeting, Councillor Tina Bourne, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Communities, said: "While the Council and its partners have had some real successes in preventing homelessness from occurring, the number of households in temporary accommodation has continued to rise in recent years.

"These proposals are about trying to use every resource and creative solution at our disposal, and in a cost-effective way, to tackle homelessness and help our residents. It is a huge investment by this Council.

"While not the whole solution, these proposals do offer a valuable set of additional tools to help us deal with rising housing demand in the Borough."