A new Housing and Homeless Strategy that aims to deliver more affordable homes, prevent homelessness, further improve conditions in the private rented sector and provide more housing options for vulnerable residents, is set to be approved by Richmond Council.
Following a public consultation and engagement with the Council’s main partners, the Cabinet is due to discuss the borough’s first combined Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2018-2023 on Thursday.
The joining together of housing and homelessness plans recognises the interrelated aspects of providing housing options and support for residents including those who are threatened with homelessness.
The strategy focuses on four key themes in the borough:
- Delivering more affordable homes through new supply and the redevelopment of existing social housing stock. This will use Council resources and work with private developers and local housing associations;
- Addressing housing market pressures, preventing homelessness and increasing housing options. This includes implementing ambitious plansfor new preventative services as a result of the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act;
- Ensuring renters of both private and social housing have access to good quality homes with more choice, and high standards. This includes increasing requirements for the licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation and using new measures introduced by the Government to tackle and penalise rogue landlords.
- Supporting the needs of vulnerable residents by working with care and support services to provide quality housing options
The Councils plans are set out in an Action Plan that proposes initiatives such as expanding the Council’s Sponsored Moves programme enabling those who want to downsize their properties to do so. In addition the Action Plan sets out how the Council will use the housing capital budget of £17.7million over the next six years.
Cllr Mark Boyle, Cabinet Member for Housing said:
“The previous Housing and Homelessness Strategies have been a success. We have delivered the second lowest rate of homelessness acceptances in South London with 2.65 people per 1,000. This is far below the 5.03 London average and a significant decrease from 2011/12.
“Our preventative measures have worked. But, I want us to go further in doing more to deal with homelessness before it becomes a crisis.