Update: The housing policy that is making people homeless

30 Jan 2024
Child holding picture of house

A Government grant, intended to ease homelessness costs, is increasing the numbers living in Temporary Accommodation. 

Last week, Cllr Harmer raised the case of Laura, a mum and civil servant in Acocks Green, to the council.

A private tenant, she was served an eviction notice by her landlord because he had agreed a sale of his property to the council for use as temporary accommodation.

With other private rentals being scarce, Laura faced the prospect of temporary accommodation herself, if the sale proceeded. This would have inevitably put her outside of the city, far from her community and her son’s school.

The council responded, confirming that purchases included a clause that no one would be made homeless because of the programme.

In this case, the vendor had assured the council that the home was not being privately let. The council have now cancelled the sale, and they are working with Laura to help her to consider her options.

Cllr Harmer said: “I am glad that the council have stopped this sale and that they are working with Laura. Unfortunately, the wider issue remains, and the risk of creating homelessness through acquisition remains high. There will be councillors who are less aware of the housing issues, and there will be private tenants who don’t contact their councillors, or the council, for help. Laura’s case has proven that more thorough vetting is required to ensure that the council aren’t creating a bigger problem down the road.”

“There are no short cuts. We need new builds that can be rented or bought at genuinely affordable prices. We especially need larger, family homes. The Government needs to change policy urgently or the problem will keep getting worse.”