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

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 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

Bexley 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.

A Bexley Council spokeswoman said: “Being part of the new Capital Letters programme is great news for Bexley.

“We face the same difficult housing challenges as the rest of London and hope that by working as part of this innovative new partnership we will be able increase the amount of affordable private rented housing available to help our homeless households.

“Capital Letters will be able to procure properties on behalf of Bexley and the other participating London boroughs, supported by £38m of Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government grant funding.

“Working in this collaborative way we hope to help local people move away from insecure forms of housing wherever possible.

More than 3,460 people are homeless in Bexley, making it the 21st 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 Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

More local authorities are expected to join in due course.

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: “Everyone deserves a safe and secure home.

He added: “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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