A Stratford building has been purchased by Newham Council from a housing association to provide temporary accommodation for homeless people.
Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, approved the purchase of Brimstone House at Mayoral Proceedings last month.
Over the next decade, the building will provide hundreds of temporary homes to residents who need them. The homes will be affordable to those on low incomes. Empty units in the building have already been in use by Newham Council since January 2015 to provide temporary accommodation to homeless residents.
The building, which will be renamed, was previously owned by East Thames Housing Group and consists of 210 self contained units. Newham Council has purchased the freehold of the building for an undisclosed sum.
There is a shortage of affordable properties in the borough and an increasing number of residents are approaching the council for help with housing. The council is doing all it can to ensure that these people are housed locally.
This building will help provide more temporary homes for hundreds of homeless people while a long term housing solution is sought. It will save the council a significant sum of money by reducing the use of other expensive nightly paid alternative forms of temporary accommodation.
The property was also purchased as a future investment for the council and to ensure the homes it can provide and potential profits generated can be safeguarded for Newham residents. If the council did not purchase the building, a private company could purchase it and sell it to the highest bidder.
House prices in Stratford are rising rapidly and the building is expected to increase in value over the next ten years. At a time of austerity when the council is experiencing swingeing cuts to its budget, prudent investments can be used to help safeguard services.
Brimstone House was previously used by East Thames to provide supported accommodation for young people. Due to changes in the way the housing association delivers services such as this, the building is no longer used for this purpose and all the supported young people living there have moved on into their own accommodation.
Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales said:
“It is essential that we take the excellent opportunity this building presents. We are at the acute end of London’s housing crisis with a desperate shortage of affordable homes in the borough. There was a significant risk that this building could be lost to a private developer who would build flats that were unaffordable for local people. This building has had a difficult past and now that we own it, we can carefully manage it and ensure these temporary homes go to those who need them most.
The benefits we will reap from making this investment are myriad. The profit we make from our investment will provide much needed funds to protect services that matter most to our residents. However, this investment is about much more than making money – the social implications are huge. We cannot turn down this unique opportunity which makes both financial sense at the same time as helping some of our most vulnerable residents.”