Thursday, 17 March 2016

New Council Owned Housing Company Aims to Help Homeless

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From: "Reading Borough Council" <webmaster@reading.gov.uk>
Date: 17 Mar 2016 11:29 a.m.
Subject: New Council Owned Housing Company Aims to Help Homeless
To: <Racheleden.whitley@gmail.com>
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New Council Owned Housing Company Aims to Help Homeless


17/03/2016
Reading Borough Council Press Release

A NEW housing company owned by Reading Borough Council will be created under ambitious plans going before councillors next week.

The new venture aims to help people who are struggling in the current housing market in Reading or are currently living in temporary housing or in unsuitable bed and breakfast accommodation. There will be no overall cost to the council.

A report on proposals to establish the new wholly-owned housing company will be discussed at a full Council meeting on Tuesday 22nd March.

The housing company would buy properties to let at a mix of market rates and at discounted rents, with an aim of acquiring 100 homes in its first year and continuing at the same rate for the following four years, resulting in a total of 500 homes in the first five years.

The new company will offer good-quality, responsibly managed private rented accommodation and will be separate from the council's general housing stock.

As many homes as possible will be available at local housing allowance level rent, to homeless households, subsidised by letting the remainder at market rent.

It is initially proposed that the housing company will buy a range of property in or near Reading but it will also be structured to enable it to develop new housing in the future, both for rent and sale.

There is no overall cost to the council of financing the company but it will provide a supply of accommodation for homeless households, reducing spending on costly bed and breakfast accommodation.

In the future the council may also benefit from growth in the value of the properties.

Councillor Richard Davies, Reading's Lead Councillor for Housing, said: "This is a significant new venture for the Council to help tackle the housing crisis in our town to go alongside other measures we have already taken.

"Lots of people want to live in Reading meaning that housing is in high demand across the board.

"Demand for affordable housing significantly outstrips supply and private rents are generally well above levels that are affordable for many people on low incomes.

"This has resulted in the council being forced to increase the use of bed and breakfast accommodation to place homeless households, which is unsuitable for families and expensive for the council.

"The council has looked at various imaginative ways of tackling the situation and I believe the bold move of creating a housing company will play a significant role in delivering homes for families in need, whilst helping to reduce costs."

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

Reading Borough Council Press Releases can be found online at http://www.reading.gov.uk/mediareleases/




Media Contact: David Millward
Tel: (0118) 937 4289

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