Council company for temporary accommodation is close to its target of buying 500 properties in five years
Enfield has bought its 400th property in an exercise that it says has already saved the council £1.5 million.
The council uses a separate company, Housing Gateway, to purchase houses in the borough and surrounding areas and uses them to give homes to residents who would otherwise be living in expensive nightly paid temporary accommodation.
“I am incredibly proud that we have purchased our 400th property which has been successfully acquired by Housing Gateway to house a local family in need,” said Ahmet Oykener, Enfield’s cabinet member for housing.
“Housing Gateway has helped the Council reduce temporary accommodation budget pressures, secure good quality local properties for local families and drive up the standards of accommodation in Enfield by ensuring the properties it lets are well managed and of a good quality.
“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.”
The council said Housing Gateway had so far saved the council £1.5 million in rent and other tenancy expenses by avoiding placing tenants with private landlords.
Dino Lemonides, Enfield cabinet member for finance and efficiency, added: “Setting up Housing Gateway was a wonderfully innovative and effective way of easing budget pressures on the Council at a time when central government budgets were being reduced.
“Between 2010 and 2015 we needed to make budget reductions of £118 million and we still need to find a further £58.5 million of savings by 2020/21 because of continuing reductions on central government funding.
“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.”
Half of Housing Gateway properties are two, three and four bedroom homes and the company is actively looking for more suitable homes in Enfield.
Housing Gateway was set up as an Enfield Council owned independent company 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.