Dermott Calpin 19 April 2007

New £30m scheme to ease housing shortages

Housing Minister Yvette Cooper and Mayor of London Ken Livingstone have announced the winning bids in a £30 million programme to help families move from temporary accommodation into long-term settled homes.
The Settled Homes Initiative will enable schemes in Bromley, Hackney, Westminster, Brent, Ealing and West London to purchase around 900 properties and convert them into good quality, settled social housing using housing benefit to help buy homes for families who would otherwise be in insecure and very expensive private sector accommodation, with no certainty about how long they might live there.
Yvette Cooper said: 'This new funding means councils will be able to do more to help London families who have been homeless move into a settled home. Instead of housing benefit being used to fund expensive temporary accommodation, it will be invested to buy more social homes in the Capital. Importantly, it will allow families to put down roots in the community and help them to overcome the barriers to work and education that people in temporary accomodation often face.'
The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone said: 'I welcome the excellent responses put forward by boroughs and housing associations who support the provision of more settled homes for London families in temporary accommodation. The Settled Homes Initiative will not only provide greater security for homeless families and contribute to more sustainable communities, but in the longer term, will increase the supply of much needed affordable housing in the capital.'
Rona Nicholson, London Field Director at the Housing Corporation said: 'The Settled Homes Initiative is a great opportunity to tap into the expertise of our partners and encourage innovation in tackling homelessness across London. I am impressed by the range and quality of approaches put forward, which will directly benefit people and families who have experienced homelessness by providing them with settled and good quality homes.'
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