03/03/2023 - Permalink

Council approve plans to provide more homes for those in need

Related topics: Corporate / Housing / Partner organisations

Shropshire Council continues to progress with its plans to buy more homes for those most in need.

This decision, which was backed by councillors at yesterday’s Full Council (Thursday 2 March 2023), will mean that up to 30 new homes can now be bought to initially house homeless Afghan refugees and Ukranian guests, who have been displaced by conflict. When no longer needed for this use, these homes will then be allocated to applicants from the housing register or used as temporary accommodation.

The money to buy these homes will be made up of three parts, and includes money from the Government’s Local Authority Housing Fund. This fund was made available in December 2022 to targeted councils to buy housing stock, build new homes, convert existing non-residential properties, and refurbish delipidated housing or empty homes into accommodation for families.

It has been allocated to Shropshire Council to buy homes specifically for Ukrainian and Afghan households who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Not all councils have been allocated this funding, as it is based on a formula relating to housing need.

The funding, along with Section 106 monies from housing developers and match funding totalling £7.2 million, will enable the council to buy 26 homes for Ukrainian guests, and four homes for Afghan refugees, who are part of the Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme (ACRS) or the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP), by the end of November 2023.

Currently Shropshire has over 600 guests who have arrived under the Homes for Ukraine scheme,across 400+ hosts. The council has seen a number of these hosting relationships end as hosts are unable to continue to accommodate their guests. This can be for a variety of reasons, including a change in family circumstances or because the family only ever opted for a finite period of six months. Across the county Ukrainian guests have been extremely proactive in finding new accommodation such as private rent options, but this is not always possible, and sometimes the council has to step in and assist.

Councils have the same duty to our Ukrainian guests as they do to anyone else presenting as homeless, and the council has several Ukrainian families now in temporary accommodation to whom it owes a full housing duty. The properties funded by this scheme will help the council rehouse Ukrainian households, whilst also increasing its housing stock for future use.

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for growth, regeneration and housing, said:-

“We are able to do this thanks to our successful bid to the Government for funding to increase our housing stock in Shropshire. The support provided to Ukrainian guests and Afghan refugees has been outstanding, although we recognise at times that not all hosts can do this indefinitely. We hope this funding will help these families to settle in Shropshire, while creating more homes for future needs, and enable these people fleeing conflicts to continue integrating into their communities through work and everyday life here in Shropshire.”

Further information can be found here – New over £650 million support package for Ukrainians sees increased ‘thank you’ payments for longer-term hosts – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Listen to Dean Carroll’s interview on BBC Radio Shropshire here: Stream Dean Carroll; homes for refugees by Shropshire Council | Listen online for free on SoundCloud (03/03/2023)