Care home converted to house rising number of homeless families

Homelessness has been rising in Nottingham.

By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter

A former care home will be transformed into homeless accommodation to support a rise in the number of families facing eviction after the pandemic.

Nottingham City Council said homeless applications are “set to increase” and action needs to be taken immediately.

Cllr Linda Woodings, (Lab), Portfolio Holder for Housing, Planning and Heritage, addressed the Executive Board at Nottingham’s Council House on Tuesday, July 20.

She warned the local authority it could not afford to keep putting homeless people in bed and breakfasts as it “would bankrupt the council.”

Some accommodation is costing the local authority, which has a duty to look after those who are made homeless, around £120 to £150 a night.

The council has agreed to the sale of Laura Chambers Lodge on Swansdowne Drive in Clifton.

The former purpose-built care home has been empty since 2016 and will be transformed into 29 self-contained family units.

Nottingham City Council will loan the money to Nottingham City Homes (NCH) Registered Provider to buy the site and find a contractor to redevelop the former care home.

The amount of money the council is to lend Nottingham City Homes has not been made public. Around £3m had been set aside for the scheme but this has been reduced, the council said.

The loan will be paid back by rental payments from NCH.

The report to the Executive Board states: “Homeless applications are expected to increase due to a combination of greater number of evictions, a backlog of applications that have not come forward during the pandemic lockdown and the wider impacts of recession.

“Most other temporary accommodation facilities are in the central areas of the city, but this is often difficult for families from Clifton to access while retaining links to family support networks. This location will provide a more diverse geographical spread of temporary accommodation.”

Nottingham City Homes also wants to acquire the land surrounding the care home and provide new affordable homes there in the future.

The council has also granted the organisation £40,000 of Section 106 money – funding handed to councils by developers to provide local community infrastructure.

This money will allow them to acquire that land.

There are currently 348 units available for the council to place homeless families in temporarily until their homeless applications are determined and more settled accommodation can be secured.

Cllr Woodings said: “I can assure you this will save the council money. We don’t have any family based accommodation [for the homeless] in Clifton. We have to put people in B&B and it would bankrupt the council [if we keep doing that].

“We desperately need more housing supply in this country. We face huge cost pressures for homelessness. We still have 100 households a week to Housing Aid. That is not a reduction.

“It was more individuals than families but now the number of families is ramping up.”

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