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Innovative scheme saves almost £1m

Published on:

13 June 2016

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Enfield Council has saved almost £1 million in just two years through an innovative scheme which reduces how much is spent on expensive nightly accommodation for vulnerable families.

Enfield Council has saved almost £1 million in just two years through an innovative scheme which reduces how much is spent on expensive nightly accommodation for vulnerable families.

The local authority set up the independent company "Housing Gateway" to purchase family homes in the borough and surrounding area, to provide an alternative to costly nightly accommodation.

Families are placed in an HGL property and then they are given an assured shorthold tenancy and supported to find alternative accommodation.

Housing Gateway was set up in March 2014 to reduce an anticipated £3.3 million budget pressure associated with housing families in temporary accommodation in 2014/15 – a figure which was predicted to rise to £7.8 million if no action had been taken.

Instead, between then and 31 March this year, the company has bought 180 properties and saved the Council £968,585 in nightly accommodation costs.

Enfield Council's Cabinet Member for Housing and Housing Regeneration, Cllr Ahmet Oykener, said: "Housing Gateway has helped the council reduce temporary accommodation budget pressures, secure good quality local properties for local families and drives up the standards of accommodation in Enfield by ensuring the properties it lets are well managed and of a good standard.

"The reality is that in recent years the demand for housing in Enfield has sky rocketed and simultaneously we have found other London boroughs placing families in temporary accommodation in Enfield because it is cheaper than in their own borough.

"That meant we had to do something radical and we have – in creating Housing Gateway.

"This project has been a huge success in significantly reducing our costs in this area and enabling us to spend our budgets on the vital services our residents depend upon.

"This is a practical, effective and intelligent response to serious budget pressures and I am delighted we have been able to find an effective solution to an incredibly taxing problem."

Further homes will be purchased this year as the Council seeks to expand its property portfolio.