A report from the Director of Health, Housing and Adult Social Care and Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services is attached. This sets out proposals for the provision of flexible housing in the Borough. (Key decision – reference number 4238)
(8.35 – 8.40 pm)
Councillor Ahmet Oykener (Cabinet Member for Housing and Housing Regeneration) introduced the report of the Director of Health, Housing and Adult Social Care and Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services (No.153) setting out proposals for the provision of flexible housing in the Borough.
1. The significant pressure on temporary accommodation in the Borough and the continuing difficulty in identifying quality, affordable leased accommodation. Over the last few years a number of initiatives had been introduced to alleviate some of this pressure, including the purchase and renovation of properties by Housing Gateway, the development of new build units by Enfield Innovations and borough wide negotiations on the cost of nightly paid accommodation. However, the expected rise in temporary accommodation required consideration of other solutions.
2. That the report identified key priorities that could be applied in moving forward. Approval was being sought to start a procurement process and to identify potential sites.
3. The need to ensure the provision of high quality flexible housing. Members asked that they be given an opportunity to view examples of potential units to be used. This would preferably be of flexible housing already in place in other Boroughs; but if this was not possible then a viewing be arranged with the manufacturers as appropriate.
Alternative Options Considered: NOTED, the alternative options which had been considered as set out in full in section 4 of the report.
DECISION: The Cabinet
1. Agreed the principle of providing flexible accommodation in response to increasing budget pressures and housing demand, subject to individual schemes being financially viable and providing a cost effective alternative to Nightly Paid Accommodation.
2. Agreed the principles for the units and site requirements to inform the procurement specification and site search, as outlined in section 3.21 of the report.
3. Noted that the subsequent award of a contract for the provision of units and the allocation of funding would be subject to Cabinet approval.
4. Noted that initial financial analysis indicated that a flexible housing scheme had the potential to be financially viable; however, viability was influenced by a number of variables so a robust financial model would be produced for each scheme based on accurate costs.
5. Agreed to delegate authority to the Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services and the Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency (and where the sites relate to HRA land, in addition the Cabinet Member for Housing and Housing Regeneration and the Director of Regeneration and Environment), to approve the site selections for flexible housing, subject to obtaining necessary planning consents.
6. Agreed to approve a variation in the remit of Housing Gateway to permit the purchase of flexible accommodation and delegate to the shareholder representative, the Assistant Director of Legal and Governance, to notify the company of this decision.
Reason: There was a shortage of cost effective, value for money temporary accommodation in the borough, so rents were increasing, placing significant budgetary pressure on the Council. The full reasons for the recommendations were set out in section 5 of the report.
(Key decision – reference number 4238)