Council to add at least 15 new social rent homes

CABINET members at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (TWBC) have agreed to use a combination of contributions from property developers and government funding for refugees to purchase up to 15 homes for social housing.

The homes will initially be allocated to refugees on the Ukrainian and Afghan resettlement and relocation schemes, and will later become a permanent part of the Council’s social housing stock, available to other households on the register.

Forty per cent of the funds are from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ (DLUCH) Local Authority Housing Fund (LAHF), which is aimed at providing ‘sustainable housing for those meeting the resettlement criteria’.

The remaining £3.2million will come from Section 106 developer contributions, which Cabinet agreed to release at a meeting on March 14.

Hugo Pound, Cabinet member for Housing and Planning, said the decision allowed the Council to increase its stock of available housing for rent at social rent levels.

“The Government has recognised the strain on housing in the Borough and many residents’ great efforts in accommodating displaced families fleeing war and tyranny,” he said.

“Obviously, we hope that many of these displaced families will be able to return home in the future, but it is right that, in the meantime, they are housed in good-quality family homes and not in hotels, hostels or other temporary accommodation.

“In the future, being able to add a further 15 properties to our list of available properties will help to reduce our housing waiting lists still further.”

As of mid-December 2022, TWBC reported that it had accepted a homelessness application from a total of 10 homes for Ukraine households.

Of these, five households had been placed into temporary accommodation, with one having moved into private rented accommodation and four remaining in temporary accommodation.

The other five were being offered ‘homelessness prevention support’.

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