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Homeless families housed in Brighton and Hove's empty properties
Hundreds of empty properties have been brought into use as part of a £28.5 million scheme to house some of society’s most vulnerable people.
Since launching in November 2011, Brighton and Hove Seaside Community Homes has brought 301 vacant buildings back into use.
A further 50 are currently being refurbished while millions of pounds is being invested into the city’s crumbling social housing stock.
With more than 16,000 people on the housing waiting list in the city, the news is welcome for those who are living in cramped conditions or deemed homeless.
Seaside Homes began leasing and refurbishing vacant Brighton and Hove City Council properties in November 2011.
Under the plan, the not-for-profit organisation will lease 499 empty properties from the local authority in batches over five years.
Using a bank loan, the charity pays the council for the leases and also pays for those properties to be refurbished. The refurbished homes are then let to homeless households or those deemed to be in need on reduced rents.
As part of the agreement the council will get receive £17.3 million for the leases. The company will also pay £11.2 million to bring the properties it leases up to standard, an average of £21,000 a property. All the money the council receives will then be spent on bringing its own 13,000 homes up the Government’s strict guidelines.
As part of the ongoing work, a cheque for £16.7 million was paid to the local authority by the charity.
Coun Randall said: “This is an innovative model for raising housing finance that gives the council a stake in a local not-for-profit company that will reinvest any surpluses it makes in the city.
“This is a fantastic achievement in such a short space of time and just shows what can be achieved when organisations work in partnership.”
Roy Crowhurst, the charity’s vice-chairman, said: “Seaside’s business model will make a major contribution to the council bringing all its properties up to Decent Homes Standards whilst at the same time ensuring that those tenants in temporary accommodation are provided with a safe and secure home of good quality.”
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