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Redbridge Council joins 10 boroughs in £38m scheme to house thousands of families on 'edge of homelessness'

PUBLISHED: 13:30 03 January 2019

Eleven London councils have joined forces to create a non-profit company to house thousands of families at risk of homelessness. Photo: PA Wire/PA Images/Yui Mok

Eleven London councils have joined forces to create a non-profit company to house thousands of families at risk of homelessness. Photo: PA Wire/PA Images/Yui Mok

PA Wire/PA Images

Redbridge Council is among 11 boroughs which have joined forces to provide accommodation to families at risk of homelessness - backed by £38m in government funding.

The scheme – named Capital Letters – will see local authorities create a non-profit company to help more than 35,000 households in Greater London out of homelessness over the next three years.

It aims to encourage local authorities to work together in housing those at risk of homelessness, rather than competing to secure the best accomodation for their own homeless residents.

Competition can drive up prices and slow down housing provision.

Cllr Farah Hussain, cabinet member for housing and homelessness, said: “Joining this innovative scheme shows we are being bold in our efforts to secure good quality, long-term accommodation for families in need.

“Working closely with other London boroughs in this way also means we will be able to provide additional safe accommodation at reduced cost, so freeing up money to invest in other vital services for the homeless.”

More than 7,100 people are homeless in Redbridge making it the 11th worst borough for homelessness in the UK, according to figures released by charity Shelter in November last year.

Other boroughs who have so far signed up to the scheme include Tower Hamlets, Barking and Dagenham, Bexley and Waltham Forest.

More local authorities are expected to join in due course.

Barking and Dagenham Council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell, who is also London Councils’ executive member for housing and planning, said: “With so many homeless households and so little accommodation available, London faces the country’s most serious homelessness challenge.

“Capital Letters is a crucial opportunity to do things differently – and we are extremely pleased to have the government’s support for this innovative work.”

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Governmnet (MHCLG) is allocating £37.8m – out of its £1.2bn fund to tackle homelessness – to the scheme over three years.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire MP said: “This radical new way of working and unprecedented collaboration between the boroughs and government will make a real difference – providing more accommodation for the vulnerable and helping them to get back on their feet and away from homelessness for good.”

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