Plan to make sure everyone has safe place to live in Richmond

By The Editor

18th Feb 2021 | Local News

The council aims to support the building of 1,000 new homes over the next ten years
The council aims to support the building of 1,000 new homes over the next ten years

Richmond Council has agreed a new housing and homelessness strategy, after concerns more people will be at risk of losing their homes when furlough ends.

Councillors at Wednesday's Adult Social Services, Health and Housing committee (February 16) were told that the council expects "significant numbers of households" in the borough will have lost employment or be furloughed and may be struggling to pay housing costs.

The paper went on to say that the council's homelessness prevention services "will need to be prepared to cope with the surge of demand anticipated over the next one to two years".

The housing and homelessness strategy was first discussed by the committee in January 2020 and was due to be consulted on later in the year.

Work paused during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic and has since been updated to cover the period 2021-2026 with more of a focus on tackling homelessness.

Council officers said the borough's use of temporary accommodation "exceeded forecasts" this year and is likely to continue.

However, despite the pressures the council had managed to avoid using bed and breakfast accommodation and had focused on providing suitable, high quality temporary accommodation instead.

It also helped more than 80 people off the streets and prevented nearly 100 people from becoming homeless in the year.

The new strategy will aim to ensure no-one returns to the streets when lockdown eases.

Councillor Liz Jaeger, lead member for housing, said the council was "committed to preventing homelessness wherever possible by helping people remain in their homes or securing suitable accommodation."

She added: "As the pandemic continues, we know that the number of people in the borough at risk of losing their homes is likely to rise. Therefore, it is important that we not only invest more money to support those most at risk, but are able to offer a comprehensive package of help that will not only result in a temporary fix, but will help identify permanent solutions for our most vulnerable in the community."

The new strategy looks at how the council will deliver affordable homes in the borough and support the redevelopment of existing social housing through the borough's own resources, including using the council's own land.

The council aims to support the building of 1,000 new homes over the next ten years, but faces challenges such as high land prices and protected open space.

Over the next 12 months, a number of large projects will get going, including affordable housing planned for the Elleray Hall site, as well as the new housing on Twickenham Riverside and the proposals for Ham Close.


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