Council joins London-wide group to improve temporary housing

Croydon Council has joined a London-wide initiative set up to strike better deals when finding temporary accommodation for homeless families.

At its cabinet meeting last night (Monday), the council signed up to joining Capital Letters, a scheme where participating councils join forces to procure temporary accommodation instead of getting their own deals.

Joining the Capital Letters scheme means the council will be able to negotiate longer temporary accommodation contracts and reduce the need for more expensive nightly-let emergency housing.

As well as pooling their resources when discussing terms with landlords and letting agents, the councils involved in Capital Letters will have access to a £38 million Government grant to help fund more temporary accommodation.

The standard practice nationwide is for councils to negotiate their own terms with landlords of emergency and temporary accommodation, meaning that landlords can charge different councils different rates.

The Capital Letters scheme will:

  • Make available an extra 20,000 properties for temporary accommodation by 2022
  • Save Croydon Council an estimated £300,000 in its first full year alone
  • Enable longer deals with landlords while reducing nightly-let costs

The types of properties available include those let direct by landlords or those negotiated through managing agents, and Croydon will join the scheme when it starts in April 2019.

Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services, said:

“This innovative scheme means Croydon will have greater bargaining power and more funding to get longer-term, better-quality temporary accommodation in the borough for homeless families.

“By cutting the use of expensive, nightly-let emergency accommodation and working more closely with other London boroughs, we will strike better deals for residents, landlords and taxpayers. I look forward to this new initiative bringing real benefits to the borough.”