Multi-million pound plan for temporary accommodation in Scarborough and wider area revealed

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Plans for a multi-million pound housing scheme seeking to tackle homelessness in Scarborough and the wider county, have been unveiled.

North Yorkshire Council’s executive committee could approve an £11.6m project to build 90 units of temporary housing across the county in a bid to tackle rising homelessness, when it is discussed at a meeting on Tuesday June 18.

Scarborough has been highlighted by charities and the council as an area with higher rates of homelessness than most parts of Yorkshire.

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Councils have a legal duty to prevent homelessness and NYC said it was facing rocketing costs due to a reliance on hotels and bed and breakfasts.

North Yorkshire Council executive meeting.North Yorkshire Council executive meeting.
North Yorkshire Council executive meeting.

Last year it spent £2.13m on temporary accommodation costs – a 400 per cent increase compared to pre-pandemic figures.

The greatest area of reliance is on the coast in Scarborough where around 40 homeless households are placed in B&Bs and hotels at any one time.

If approved, the scheme would see 30 units provided by registered providers and 60 units would be acquired or built by the council and could bring savings of £1.7m by 2027/28.

High costs

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The largest use of B&Bs and hotel accommodation is within Harrogate and Scarborough and the costs are “significantly higher than all alternative forms of provision” such as using council-owned properties.

The average rate of a single B&B or hotel placement is £80 per night, while in the Scarborough area, it is around £90 which amounts to £32,850 per bed used over a full year.

The cost of a flat through a registered provider is around £2,000 a year, according to the council.

The authority plans to use £7.4m from its reserves and borrowing, with £4m set to come from a mixture of a Homes England grant and capital and S106 receipts.

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A four-year period has been set for constructing and acquiring the properties, including a 20-unit supported housing facility in Scarborough.

Homelessness will increase’

The council’s executive has been told that “all data shows the trend that the number of households presenting as homeless will increase”.

Currently, the authority has access to a ‘core offer’ of 169 units of temporary accommodation but demand has outstripped supply in recent years and the number of homeless households placed in temporary accommodation has exceeded that availability.

Last year North Yorkshire Council was accommodating between 50 and 70 homeless households in hotels and B&Bs at any one time, of which around 40 were in Scarborough.

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Nationally, levels of homelessness are increasing and numbers in temporary accommodation are at a 25-year high according to the Government’s own statistics, a council report states.

It added that the “proactive intervention measures” were necessary because demand is likely to remain high in the future.

The scheme follows the approval of the council’s “ambitious” housing strategy last month which pledged to build at least 500 council homes in the county.

The executive committee has been urged to approve the new plan due to an “immediate need to increase the pool of council and registered provider-owned temporary accommodation and phase out the use of expensive B&Bs and hotels”.

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Councillors will meet in Northallerton at 11am on Tuesday, June 18 to decide on the proposal.

The meeting is open to members of the public and can also be viewed live on the council’s YouTube channel.