Local authorities have a key role to play in responding to the UK housing crisis to deliver appropriate and affordable housing stock for the communities they serve.
Increasing pressures on the supply of decent, affordable housing in London has led to more people moving to the outer boroughs such as Enfield. However as demand has grown locally, rents have been raised leading to more and more families presenting as homeless.
In December 2013, there were over 2100 homeless families in the borough, ranking Enfield as the 7th highest council nationally for the number of households in temporary accommodation.
We supported Enfield Council in developing a financially robust model to increase the supply of long term, well managed, private rented accommodation for homeless households. The Council has approved plans to establish a wholly owned local authority company to own and manage a portfolio of houses which will be available to residents primarily with housing need or at risk of homelessness. As the Council has complete control of the company, it can select and allocate properties appropriately and fix rents at levels which remain affordable for local people.
The company will adopt a phased approach to buying properties to manage the financial risks and to test the effectiveness of the model. Properties will be purchased on a case by case basis meeting strict financial viability criteria and using funding either from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) or from external finance, such as pensions funds and other institutional investors. There may be opportunities in the future to use funding for new build developments.