Royal Borough proposes pilot scheme to provide housing and services to homeless people

Will Taylor

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Will Taylor

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Royal Borough proposes pilot scheme to provide housing and services to homeless people

Homeless protestors outside the town hall in April

Homeless people in the borough could be granted housing and the use of a day centre as part of a proposed two-year pilot scheme.

According to a report prepared by council officers, the Royal Borough will use one of its properties in Braywick Park as a halfway house and use an industrial unit it owns in Howarth Road for storage as a day centre, to be run by the Brett Foundation.

The council estimates it will lose £50,000 a year in revenue by converting its use to a day centre. It also estimates it will lose £100,000 in 2015/16 in capital due to one-off costs associated with the move.

The plan was discussed at a meeting of the Crime and Disorder Overview and Scrutiny Panel, attended by Simon Fletcher, the council’s strategic director.

He said the council would partner with the Brett Foundation to deliver the scheme, which is expected to continue in some form after the two years are up.

Mr Fletcher, who was presenting the report to councillors, said: “For me, this is a short term solution.”

Two members of the homeless protest group, Born SL6, who have been allowed to stay on land in front of the town hall by council leader Simon Dudley, attended the meeting.

Jason Verdaguer, the co-founder of Born SL6, said he was annoyed homes in Woodlands Park were empty, and not being used to accommodate homeless people.

Speaking afterwards, he said: “All of the councillors in the meeting were welcoming and very helpful.”

He added Cllr Dudley was helping to press forward with a solution to his problem.

“Cllr Dudley has transformed this campaign, without him we would not be here,” he said.

“I do believe he genuinely cares about the homeless problem.”

He was handed a note, which he says was given to him by Cllr Dudley, which said he would speak to Housing Solutions on Monday and hoped to have an answer by the end of that day.

Although he did not provide an answer on Monday, Mr Verdaguer said he is expecting to have a meeting with Cllr Dudley soon.

Sue Brett, founder of the Brett Foundation, said: “I am really pleased that the council is working with us to find a solution for this.

"It is something we have been trying to get going."

She said the plan was not yet finalised and will have further meetings with the council.

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