It would take 15 years to house Luton's homeless says council boss - if it stopped accepting new applications

Rough sleepers lay in a makeshift bed  (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)Rough sleepers lay in a makeshift bed  (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Rough sleepers lay in a makeshift bed (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Council report said 16 per cent of homelessness claims were accepted

It would take 15 years to house everyone on the accommodation waiting list in Luton, if the borough council immediately stopped accepting new applicants, a meeting heard.

The local authority’s director of housing Colin Moone was responding to questions raised around homelessness in its latest corporate performance report.

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A report to its overview and scrutiny board said 16 per cent of homelessness claims were accepted by the council, with 84 per cent rejected.

This “represents negative decisions without a homeless duty, such as ineligible, not threatened with homelessness, and not in priority need or intentionally homeless, although advice and assistance would be provided to these households”.

LBC’s director of housing Colin Moone said: “If we closed our doors to every single application from today it would take probably 15 years to rehouse everyone.

“We’ve got 1,021 homeless households in all forms of temporary accommodation as of today. Every year we assume how many homeless households will come through the door, how many we’ll prevent and how many we’ll house permanently, as well as how many we’ll house in the private sector.

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“We estimate 210 homeless households will be accommodated in council or housing association property, this year. At the end of September, that’s six months, we’ve housed 110. We expect to house (a further) 170 homeless households in the private rented sector, and we’ve done 94 at the end of last month.

“Some of those will be out of borough. Of those 94, 77 have been out of borough, with the majority into Bedford. So that’s about 200 homeless households housed at the end of month six.

“The issue about housing homeless households is more about keeping pace with the demand. If we were to close the door and didn’t accommodate any households from the housing register or council tenants on the transfer list, we would house roughly around 500 homeless households a year.

“Essentially that’s how many council or housing association properties we get and about 170 in the private sector. That’s five years plus worth of housings,” he explained.

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“But many of those households need three-bed and four-bedroom accommodation, and that’s a five, six or seven-year wait depending on the size of those homeless households and their needs.

“The demand keeps coming, 460 on average every month, not all of them we’ll accept. About 20 per cent are accepted each month and add to that tally.”

Labour Saints councillor Ghulam Abbas asked: “How many of the 1,000 in temporary accommodation are asylum seekers and how much do they represent that demand?”

Mr Moone replied: “None of them are asylum seekers because if you get your stay granted you’re no longer an asylum seeker.

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“You’re a homeless household benefiting from all the rights under the legislation. I know what question you’re asking, but I have to be technical about it. We don’t count in that way.

“The legislation says if you get a positive decision, you’re not an asylum seeker. You’re a homeless household with all the rights of that legislation.

“If you want me to guess, as I don’t have the figures, perhaps five per cent are ex-asylum seekers.”

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