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West Berkshire Council to spend £1.9m on more temporary accomodation

Authority taking measures after admitting it doesn't have enough to meet demand

Dan Cooper

Reporter:

Dan Cooper

Contact:

01635 886632

Council tax set to rise by four per cent from April

WEST Berkshire Council will spend £1.9m on purchasing more temporary accommodation.

The council held an emergency behind-closed-doors meeting in August 2016 to avoid the possibility of facing another legal challenge.

It admitted that it doesn’t currently have enough temporary accommodation to house homeless families and that it could be in breach of its statutory obligations if it doesn’t secure more.

In the council’s draft temporary accommodation policy, it says: “The council has duties to homeless households and, while it has a small stock of temporary accommodation, this is insufficient to meet current demands.

“Families with children should not be placed in bed-and-breakfast for longer than six weeks, but this is currently highly likely.

“This policy sets out a clear policy by which the council seeks to mitigate the risk of breaching the six-week rule.”

In 2015, the Court of Appeal ruled that local authorities should have a policy for buying sufficient temporary accommodation to meet demand and another for allocating units to households.

The council says that capital investment would be required to buy the units and anticipates that ongoing repair and maintenance costs would be met from rental income.

The council’s amended draft accommodation policy went  out to a six-week public consultation to enable people to comment on it.

All residents in temporary accommodation have been contacted in writing or by email, asking them for their views.

Plans to provide additional temporary accommodation, to replace units which are being lost though redevelopment, have also been incorporated into the council’s programme.

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