East Devon District Council says it hopes to acquire former B&B to tackle homelessness in the council. The council says it plans to complete the purchase of the property as soon as possible.
According to Cllr Jill Elson, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Homes and Communities at the Conservative controlled council, “We are well aware of the general problem of homelessness and of the growing need for accommodation for single people under the age of 55. The pattern of society is changing and, whilst homes are needed for couples and family groups, there is a growing need for smaller homes for individuals to live in.
“The problem of homelessness is a national one, but the solutions often have to be found locally. Whilst we agree that housebuilding in general must accelerate, local authorities also need to do everything they can to make the best possible use of existing housing stocks. We must be vigilant so we can see the challenges that are coming and we must be innovative and inventive in creating solutions.”
The council has pledged to provide decent accommodation for all. According to Cllr Elson, the latest project in Exmouth can be a model for a unique approach to providing suitable housing for one of the many groups on EDDC’s housing list. According to Elson, “It’s also vital to take practical steps on the ground to tackle the problem at its roots. That means getting people into suitable homes as quickly as possible and minimising dependence on emergency Bed and Breakfast accommodation, which is not ideal for tenants and is far from the most cost-effective solution.
“Our priority is to provide suitable affordable housing for those who need support, extra care or a property that can be rented within Housing Benefit limits. We do have people who are fully employed, on a low wage, who will still qualify for Housing Benefit.