Council backs plans to provide temporary accommodation for homeless families

Homelessness stock photo
Homelessness stock photo

Rother council leaders have backed plans to provide temporary accommodation for homeless families within the district.

On Monday (December 3), Rother District Council’s Conservative-led cabinet signed off on plans to create temporary accommodation places at a building in Bexhill.

The same building had previously been leased by the council for this purpose until a 12-month temporary planning permission expired in September.

While the final arrangements will be subject to the granting of a further planning permission, the council now plans to employ a specialist provider to run the building, in what it says will be a more cost-effective service.

Proposing the plans, the council’s lead member for housing, welfare and equalities Joy Hughes said: “This management agreement, I think, is a very good idea.

“Knowing that the first property we have had really hasn’t had any problems, then I am really very happy to continue in this way.”

Under the proposed plans, the council will employ a specialist provider to run the premises at a cost of £90,000 per annum. The provider currently manages around 500 accommodation places in Kent, an officer’s report said.

As part of an agreement with the temporary accommodation provider, the council says only homeless families with children would be placed within the building.

The building would also be exclusively for the use of Rother District Council, meaning other councils cannot place its residents within it, the report says.

Earlier in the meeting, councillors had heard how a ‘rising demand’ for temporary accommodation places had resulted in a £128,000 overspend within the council’s housing need budget.

The council also reported spending £40,000 more than budgeted in housing administration, as it had hired agency staff to help manage the workload.

These costs, however, were both offset by a number of savings within the same budget head.

These include a £250,000 income boost from the sale of 43 beach huts at Glyne Gap and East Parade as well as a better than expected performance from the council’s car parks, which generated £212,000 more than originally budgeted.

As a result, the total housing and community services spend came in at £326,000 under budget, councillors heard.

The council’s overall revenue budget, meanwhile, is estimated to have underspent by £1.751m.

Huw Oxburgh , Local Democracy Reporting Service