Councillors will hear a report on Wednesday (17 June) that a unique company set up by Enfield Council to buy homes and use them to move families out of expensive nightly accommodation into private rented homes is expected to buy its 100th property soon.
Enfield Council set up Housing Gateway to purchase family homes in the borough and surrounding area, to provide an alternative to costly nightly accommodation, which the Council can use to move families out of temporary accommodation into the private rented sector.
The company was set up as an innovative response to local housing pressures in March last year due to an anticipated £3.3 million budget pressure for the council arising from putting people in temporary accommodation in 2014/15 – a figure which was predicted to rise to £7.8 million if no action was taken.
Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Housing Regeneration, Cllr Ahmet Oykener, said:
“Housing Gateway is helping the council reduce temporary accommodation budget pressures, secure good quality local properties for local families and drives up the standards of accommodation in Enfield by ensuring the properties it lets are well managed and of a good standard.”
“The reality is that in recent years the demand for housing in Enfield has sky rocketed and simultaneously we have found other London boroughs placing families in temporary accommodation in Enfield because it is cheaper than in their own borough. That meant we had to do something radical and we have – in creating Housing Gateway.”
“I’m confident we can build on the success of the first year, acquire more properties and move more families out of temporary accommodation, continuing to reduce our costs in this area and enabling us to spend our budgets on the vital services our residents depend upon. This is a practical, effective and intelligent response to serious budget pressures and I am delighted we have been able to find an effective solution to and incredibly taxing problem.”
The number of households in temporary accommodation in Enfield rose from 2,188 in December 2013 to 2,764 on 31st March 2015, a 26 percent increase which put Enfield in the top five areas nationally for the number of households in temporary accommodation.
In response, by March 31, Housing Gateway had purchased 72 properties with a further 53 accepted. It has also secured £1.8 million from the Greater London Authority to renovate 56 properties and improve living standards for tenants. So far 34 families have been moved out of temporary accommodation and a further 38 properties are being renovated to enable more people to move into them. Further homes will be bought this year as the company looks to expand its portfolio.
Enfield Council’s Cabinet will receive a report on Wednesday (17 June) updating them on the progress made by Housing Gateway.