27 November 2012…..The Brighton and Hove City Council website provides a monthly meetings calendar; and when clicking on, say, Policy and Resources for 29th November, 2012, you get the Agenda Reports to be debated and voted on, all laid out to read a week in advance.
Today, whilst quickly scrolling through the weight of all the financial and budget items for that meeting, Item 89 invited a stop, look-see-read and gawp moment.
Item 89 concerns the acquisition of temporary accommodation to meet the usual need plus an expected 7% rise in homelessness in the wake of April, 2013 benefit cuts. Whilst unable to house everyone seeking Council accommodation, BHCC nevertheless has a statutory obligation to house homeless people who fall within particular categories – and a need to rustle up the housing for them, one way or another.
The Council is having to work it every which way and individual leaseholders can sometimes rent their flats to the Council. Here we see they have identified the possibility of leasing-in whole blocks of flats as part of their strategy; however, over and above agreements with established block owners, there is an interesting new source of housing for the Council to consider.
And just WHO is riding to the rescue in the hunt for places to put people? Why, would you believe: developers?
At 3.1.3 of Policy and Resources Agenda Item 89 for the 29th of November, 2012 one can read the following: “In addition we have been approached by several developers who own large amounts of accommodation that could be accessed“.
This almost certainly refers to flats, built speculatively for the marketplace. And they are stuck with a load of them they can’t sell. So they are inviting BHCC to take them off their hands by leasing them in so they have flats to put the homeless into.
Gives new meaning to the term ‘market forces’, eh?