Team Leader, Housing Options, delivered a presentation about temporary accommodation (details are in the published pack).
There was a discussion about the use and costs of temporary accommodation, including the following points:
· There is a reliance on the private sector landlords, and not all costs can be recovered.
· As there is no supported element in nightly paid Temporary Accommodation (TA) (which is the most used type of TA), there is a housing benefit subsidy gap which BCC makes up. This subsidy loss is just over £3M/year.
· Nightly paid accommodation has the following costs (no inclusion of any support):
o Adult with partner £35-£40/night; child over £10- £15 / night; under 10 0-£5/night.
· The most costly types of TA are privately managed spot purchased accommodation followed by Housing association block purchased accommodation.
· By moving Block purchased accommodation to the new model of Family Supported Accommodation, BCC will lower TA costs due to only needing to cover support costs, with the provider dealing with rent and housing benefit subsidy. The savings amount to £201K/year.
· There is usually a degree of support required for households who become homeless.
Chair asked if we use our own accommodation for temporary accommodation.
o Use of our own accommodation is part of the solution. We use a range of interventions including improving access to the private rented sector, prevention work, and increasing affordable housing provision
o Since 2017 57 ‘acquired homes’ have been brought into use for TA. These units were not purpose built Council housing but bought for other reasons. By the end of 2019/20 the income collected from these properties will have covered the costs of bringing the properties back into use and ongoing maintenance.
A Member asked how much reduction in the reliance on private landlords there will be.
Cabinet Member for Housing said that we always look to fill our own properties first; and that permanent affordable housing is coming on line which will reduce reliance temporary accommodation in the private sector.
Cabinet Member for Housing stated that some properties previously earmarked for sale are now kept to be used as temporary accommodation (TA) rather than going to auction.
Also, subject to Cabinet approval in May 2019, the Council is proposing to secure an initial 30 properties on the open market across the city to be used for TA (funding by prudential borrowing), reducing the need to rely on privately managed spot purchase, which is high cost with no assets, where are ownership provides for lower costs and assets.
There was a discussion about how long households stay in different types of temporary accommodation, and whether some longer stays are increasing average costs.
ACTION: Officer to provide average periods of time households in temporary accommodation (by household type if data available).
RESOLVED: It was agreed that it would be valuable for future reporting to provide cost per unit per week for the different types of TA, including comparisons to how much it costs to purchase units for TA use.
There was a discussion about alternative options, including modular construction for intermediate, move on, usage and also conversions of Council assets for ‘meanwhile use’ TA, and the following points were made by Officers:
o Some office conversions need to be looked at carefully.
o Intervention and prevention work, together with funding for affordable housing, all work together and part of the bigger picture.