New deal will see more temporary homes for Torbay residents

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Torbay Council is buying 37 homes to be used as temporary accommodation in a bid to help meet the needs of Torbay’s homeless families.

The council is working with Phi Capital Investments (Phi), who will source and acquire the properties on behalf of the council and refurbish them to meet Decent Homes and sustainable energy standards.

The council has borrowed £10m to fund the purchase and renovation costs. Rental income will be used to pay the loan repayment costs, management and repairs.

When renovated, the properties will be handed over to the council so they can be used to assist people in urgent need of temporary accommodation who find themselves homeless.

The properties will house families of various sizes and will be located throughout Torbay.

Because they are a temporary solution, they will provide many people with initial shelter while they seek homes of their own. It’s estimated the homes will help more than 600 people a year.

The first homes should be ready within the next three months and all of them should be handed over by the end of the March.

Following a formal tender process through the summer, Phi was chosen for this project because they are specialists in delivering a wide range of affordable housing options, focusing on long-term, positive social and economic impact in the communities they work in.

Phi is also a Certified B Corporation (Profit with Purpose) and works directly with local authorities across the country to find, secure, and develop affordable homes which meet targeted local needs.

Councillor Darren Cowell, Deputy Leader of Torbay Council, said: “We currently often source temporary homes on a spot purchase basis from a handful of providers, bed and breakfasts and other holiday-based accommodation. However, this is costly for the council and difficult to manage.

“Working with Phi means we will have our own supply of temporary accommodation and will be able to offer more stability to people.”

Councillor Swithin Long, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing, said: “These homes will help families of various sizes and will range from two beds to larger family homes. They will be self-contained which is important as it ensures there is space to cook and space for children to do their homework in. These homes provide suitable accommodation to meet family needs.

“Moving home can be disruptive and it’s essential that we’re able to help families recover from homelessness and move into suitable accommodation.”

Omar Al-Hasso, Managing Director at Phi, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Torbay Council to deliver this much-needed housing. Safe, clean, affordable housing is the cornerstone to allowing families to get their lives back on track, and this is what we are all about.”

Torbay has a growing number of people needing temporary and permanent accommodation yet faces a shortage of properties.

The cost of living and landlords leaving the private rented housing market is contributing to more and more people facing homelessness.

Torbay only has eight per cent of social housing compared with the national average of 18 per cent.

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