New scheme to give homeless people in Ashford places to live
HOMELESS people in Ashford are to be given places to live under a new scheme between council bosses and landlords.
The proposals, which will come under Ashford Borough Council lettings, will see the authority broker tenancy agreements between homeless applicants and landlords.
The scheme will operate in a similar way to a high street lettings agency but will crucially focus its attention on tenants who are normally seen by those agencies and landlords as a high risk.
ABC says it will offer assistance to property owners or a full management service for an agreed set-up and management fee.
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It is expected that the scheme will be self-financing in three years and will help to reduce the council's dependency on using bed-and-breakfast accommodation around the borough.
Council bosses also hope it will reduce the pressure on the authority's housing waiting list and the scheme will be reviewed after one year of operation.
ABC's portfolio holder for housing, Councillor Aline Hicks, said: "Innovation is key to tackling the challenges that we face as a borough.
"These are proactive proposals that will help not only those present to us, but landlords too.
"It is essential that we act now, given the potential for increased risk of homeless people.
"Extensive work has been done to create this scheme and we will do everything we can to make it a success."
The scheme was approved by ABC cabinet members last Thursday following a report that suggested homelessness in the borough could increase in the coming months.
ABC says it has approved the plans in anticipation of a further reduction in government funding and the potential knock-on effects of the economic climate to homeowners, low-income families and those who have suffered a breakdown in relationships.