Brent Council approves £130m scheme to tackle homelessness

Cllr Margaret McLennan is Brent Council's lead member for housing and development

Cllr Margaret McLennan is Brent Council's lead member for housing and development - Credit: Archant

Brent Council have rubber-stamped a £130million scheme to tackle the borough’s housing crisis which includes buying almost 600 new homes.

Under the three-year plan, the town hall will spend £10m creating a portfolio of affordable private rented and temporary accommodation units in and outside of Brent.

A site in London Road, Wembley, and Knowles House in Longstone Road, Harlesden, will also be converted into temporary homes.

Under current guidelines homeless families are placed in privately-rented temporary accommodation but if they are in receipt of housing benefit the placement can cause financial problems as the rent often exceeds the Local Housing Allowance cap.

In Brent the average private rent on a three-bedroom house is £595 but the maximum LHA available is £340.

Families are left to pay the shortfall out of their own pockets.

However the rent on the new temporary homes will be covered by LHA.

Most Read

The new scheme will also improve:

• Assistance provided to tenants in private accommodation who could be made homeless through eviction.

• The way the council find privately rented temporary homes by using outside agencies and through a pilot scheme with other local councils.

• The help given to working homeless families to aid their settlement into a new home or assistance in finding employment for jobless parents.

In addition to tackling homelessness the scheme also aims to eliminate the use of expensive B&B and hostel accommodation by placing families in cheaper temporary homes quicker.

Cllr Margaret McLennan, Brent Council’s lead member for housing and development, said: “There are a few big problems that this important reform addresses.

“Firstly, the money that we get from the government to fund council services is being halved. Secondly, the private rented sector is massively overheated and it is extremely difficult to secure accommodation and thirdly, the Local Housing Allowance cap is just not enough to cover private sector rents in and around Brent.

“In light of these facts, we have developed a better approach to help people with housing issues so that we can maintain our commitment to giving people the help and opportunity to better their lives.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter