Council set to buy back homes

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Council set to buy back homes
Credit Unsplash

One hundred former council properties could come back in house and give care leavers, people sleeping rough in Islington and refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine a roof over their heads.

Council leaders are set to agree to buy the ex-council homes tenants purchased under the right to buy scheme as Islington becomes the first council to win funding from the Greater London Authority towards buying the homes with a £20m grant.

The council will also need to borrow £26.3m from its housing revenue account for its share of the cost.

It will buy 40 one bedroom, 20 two bedrooms, 20 three bedroom homes and another 20 four bedroom homes.

The scheme will also include £1.2m funding from the Housing First project to give former homeless people intensive support to settle into their home.
Islington council is on a mission to increase its housing stock to help cut its lengthy waiting list.

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It currently has 1,058 homeless households in temporary accommodation and has housed 200 people over the last year who have lived on the borough’s streets.

It said homeless families have to stay in temporary housing for longer because of a lack of available council and housing association and a 20% increase in the numbers over the past year which it blames on the cost of living crisis and Brexit.

A shortage of homes also means young care leavers spend longer in temporary and supported accommodation, according to a town hall report.

Executive member for housing Una O’Halloran said: “The acquisition of these properties will ensure care experienced young adults and homeless households and people fleeing Ukraine and Afghanistan are now provided with good quality accommodation locally in Islington to enhance community well-being.”

The council has to use the homes for 30 years to avoid”grant claw back”, a report for next week’s (JULY 20) executive warned.

If the service is no longer needed then or it wants to recoup its debt it would have to sell an estimated 21 homes, plus another 12, to match the value of its debt for the one bedoom homes.

The report also said if the demand for temporary homes declines and the service is no longer needed the council could sell the homes and repay the proportion of grant and debt. It could also convert the larger homes into smaller temporary flats.

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