Vulnerable residents could be moved up to an hour away as Bromley struggles with 97 per cent rise in temporary accommodation demand
PUBLISHED: 09:20 14 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:44 14 September 2017
There are more than 1,500 temporary homes in use in Bromley
Pressures on finding temporary accommodation for homeless residents could put Bromley council back by £5.7million in the next three years, a council report has warned.
There are already 1,511 temporary accommodations in use across the borough, a 97 per cent rise on 2012, and with a shortage in housing, the council is paying for nightly accommodation to put up vulnerable residents - a cost which council officers fear could rise by up to £2m per annum over the next three years.
In a bid to relieve the pressure, Bromley council approved a report last night which could see some of the borough’s homeless residents, including families, moved up to an hour away.
Senior councillors approved a list of 10 principles for working with developers willing to tackle the lack of affordable housing.
Among the principles approved last night, councillors recommended “the accommodation must be suitable to enable occupants nominated by Bromley, to be no more than one hour travelling time from Bromley”.
Rents for the houses would have to be affordable under housing benefit and suitable under the council’s needs and standards.
If the houses didn’t meet the standards, Bromley council has said it will “seek alternative management arrangements”.
Angela Wilkins, Labour leader and Crystal Palace ward councillor said: “Homelessness and pressure on temporary accommodation are issues all councils are facing, and it comes from central government, cutting benefits at a time when rental prices are so high has cost people their homes and put us in this position.”
Right now it costs £450 more to rent a two-bedroom property in the borough than residents can claim via the maximum housing benefit.
Cllr Wilkins added: “We need to see more homes built all over the borough, at the moment Crystal Palace and Penge are taking in huge developments.
“Of course we need to protect green space, but people having a permanent home is more important, we are seeing too many properties sitting empty, with some developers waiting for their prices to go up before they sell on, fixing this problem isn’t going to happen overnight.”
In response to the pressure, the Conservative council said it has prevented more than 2,000 families from becoming homeless in the past year, adding it has bought 160 new homes with 530 still to come.
Last night (Wednesday) senior councillors approved a list of 10 principles for working with developers willing to “bring forward potential schemes through property acquisition and refurbishment,” to tackle the lack of affordable housing.