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Swale council's set to buy a house in Sittingbourne to provide emergency accommodation for the homeless

By Hayley Robinson

An offer has been made on a house so Swale council can set up a bed and breakfast.

Cllr John Wright confirmed on Monday the local authority is in the process of buying a property to provide emergency accommodation for the homeless.

The cabinet member for housing said: “I can’t say where it is or how much. It could happen tomorrow or it could go pear shaped.”

Cllr John Wright

As previously reported, a proposal to find a three or four-bedroom house in the Sittingbourne area was agreed by cabinet members at the end of January.

It’s estimated an investment of £180,000 is needed to buy the property and carry out any refurbishments.

Funds of £150,000 will come from monies awarded to the council for bringing empty houses back into use, plus £36,800 available from the private sector.

The house would initially be managed by housing services with an additional part-time worker partly funded through an estimated full-occupancy rental income of £312 a week.

The local authority has a legal duty to provide emergency accommodation to homeless households.

Swale House

But due to increasing demands, there have been occasions where nothing has been available in or outside the borough. To deal with the issue, the Premier Inn and other hotels have been used.

The current average cost to the council of three households living in temporary accommodation over 52 weeks, is £27,500.

It believes that by having its own building, in time, it will be making savings of almost £19,000.

Should it no longer be required, the plan is to either rent the property out at £650 per month or sell it on the open market.

Eligible people, who are homeless and in priority need, include families with children or who are pregnant, care leavers and those that may be vulnerable due to old age, poor health and those fleeing domestic violence.

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