The Havant Borough Council’s cabinet recently discussed the possibility of borrowing funds through the public works loan board for a temporary accommodation purchase program.
Councillor Gwen Robinson, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Lead for Housing, explained that the aim of this loan is to address budgetary pressures.
“Suitable properties will come to the market which will not only address the pressures but provide much needed accommodation in the borough thus reducing the need to accommodate the residents out of the borough – and away from support networks like families and friends.
“The number of residents presenting as homeless and consequently in need of temporary accommodation has been rising over a sustained length of time and at the present the figure stands at 100.
“The overspend figures show that in 2023 there is a 750,000 overspend. It is projected in 2024 the figure will be higher than that and then in 24/25 the costs are likely to be higher than the previous year.
“The current trajectory across the housing sectors is for the demand and associated costs to increase.”
Currently most temporary accommodation across the borough – which includes Havant, Waterlooville, Hayling Island and Emsworth – is provided by external providers and landlords who own Bed and Breakfasts (BnBs) and self-contained units. The cabinet report indicates that the council spends ‘around £50 to £70 per night’ for local hotel and BnB rooms. For instance, accommodating 20 service users would result in an annual cost ranging from £365,000 to £511,000 for the council.
It adds that buying a property ‘for say £1.6m’ with developer contributions would cost between £225,000 to £371,000 annually representing ‘a major reduction’ in the council’s revenue position.
In the debate stage, Cllr Liz Fairhurst said she ‘really welcomes this’.
“I think the outcomes of our families if we get them back into temporary accommodation is so much better for their outcomes in the long term,” she added.
“Children going into BnBs is a horrid life for them.”
Cabinet members voted in favour of the proposal which will now advance to a full council meeting for formal approval.