Council tackles homelessness with property acquisition

West Oxfordshire District Council has outlined plans to buy a property in a bid to avoid people being made homeless.

A large house in Chipping Norton is set to be acquired from Cottsway Housing with the aim of using it as emergency homeless accommodation.

The move is designed to help avoid residents from being forced to move into bed and breakfast accommodation outside the District while a suitable longer term property is found.

The acquisition will come at no additional cost to the council as the original housing stock agreement with Cottsway Housing included a clawback agreement which sees the Council receiving 50 per cent of the proceeds of any sale.

Normally that would be retained by Cottsway to re-invest in housing but instead the money and the proceeds from two other recent sales will pay for the Chipping Norton property. The cash will also include £52,000 towards renovation costs.

Cllr James Mills, Leader of the District Council, said: “The current situation which sees people facing homelessness being forced to move out of the District into motel accommodation is extremely stressful for them as well as being expensive for the Council.

“This property will allow us to accommodate individuals and families locally while a more permanent solution is found.”

The Council generally has about five households in emergency accommodation at any one time with occupation averaging 28 days.

As a result, the property is expected to be fully occupied at all times.

In the last two financial years the council has spent almost £43,000 in total on emergency accommodation.

The proposal will go before the Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday 17 October.

It follows the introduction of the Families First scheme which sees a dedicated project officer work with families and couples where there is a risk of homelessness occurring with the aim of preventing it.

The Our House project has also been launched which involves young, unemployed individuals moving into a property to restore it and learn a trade simultaneously.

West Oxfordshire District Council
Elmfield
New Yatt Road
Witney
OX28 1PB