Decision details

Local Authority Housing Fund

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member Finance, Assets and Regeneration

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes

Decision:

1.    To submit a validation form to DLUHC by 25th January, confirming that CBC will provide an additional 21 affordable homes with the help of approximately c.£2.36m capital grant funding from the Government’s Local Authority Housing Fund;

 

2.    To note that Council will be asked to approve CBC entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with DLUHC (provided DLUHC allocate to CBC the said grant funding), as part of its approval of the Housing Revenue Account budgets for 2023/24.    

Reasons for the decision:

Background

The Government has recently announced £500m worth of capital grant funding via its Local Authority Housing Fund (LAHF) to enable local authorities provide more affordable homes during 2023/24. The aim of this funding is to alleviate increased housing pressures on local authorities, which have arisen as a result of the recent and unforeseen conflicts in Afghanistan and Ukraine.

 

Cheltenham Borough Council (CBC) has been provisionally allocated approximately £2.36m funding to provide 21 affordable homes. One of these homes must be at least 4 bedrooms, and must be allocated to a household currently living in ‘bridging accommodation’ (e.g. hotel accommodation provided in the UK by the Home Office). The remaining 20 homes must be provided to those who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or who live in unsuitable temporary accommodation (including bridging accommodation) and who are accommodated via any of the following schemes:

·         Afghan Citizen Resettlement Scheme (including British Nationals under this scheme) (ACRS);

·         Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP);

·         Ukraine Family Scheme (UFS);

·         Homes for Ukraine (HFU)

·         Ukraine Extension Scheme (UES)

 

It is anticipated that many of these homes will be provided to households accommodated under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, as this is where CBC expects most of the demand.

In order to receive the funding, CBC must submit a validation form to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) by 25th January 2023, confirming whether the authority can deliver the proposed number of homes during 2023/24. CBC must also set out briefly how it proposes to do this. (It is anticipated that CBC will acquire these homes from the open market, for conversion into affordable housing.)

Reasons for decision

CBC is at risk of significant housing pressures. This grant funding will enable the local authority to increase its affordable housing provision during the next financial year. In particular, this funding will help to:

-       Alleviate any immediate housing pressures arising from the Ukrainian crisis;

-       Provide at least one new home for a household currently living in bridging accommodation  via the Government’s Afghan Citizen Resettlement Scheme and/or the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy;

-       Support our housing pressures in the longer term by increasing the number of affordable homes within our housing stock

 

Alternative options considered:

Not to submit the validation form to DLUHC.  It is proposed that this is rejected on the basis that such a decision would not alleviate our current housing pressures.

Other reasons / organisations consulted

As above.

Consultees

This decision is supported, following discussions with senior officers within CBC and Cheltenham Borough Homes.

Contact: Martin Stacy, Housing Strategy and Partnerships Manager Email: martin.stacy@cheltenham.gov.uk.

Publication date: 23/01/2023

Date of decision: 23/01/2023

Effective from: 31/01/2023

Accompanying Documents: