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Housing grant scheme to help homeless families says Harrow Borough council
Harrow Borough Council says a scheme offering tenants thousands of pounds to move out of council homes will free up housing for homeless families.
The council’s Grants to Move scheme will offer those in council-owned properties a grant to downsize or move into private accommodation.
The authority hopes the scheme will free up some of the 5,000 council properties in the borough, and give homes to some of the 4,000 on the housing waiting list.
Cabinet member for housing Councillor Barry Macleod-Cullinane said: “With a housing stock of 5,000 properties and 4,000 people on our waiting list, doing nothing is not an option.
“Our Grants to Move scheme supports people to voluntarily move into private accommodation or downsize their council accommodation, and in the process frees up valuable housing for our homeless families.
“We will treat each application on a case-by-case basis and there will be checks and balances in place to prevent fraud. The council will receive a quick payback as we reduce the number of people living in temporary accommodation.
“Although there are benefits to moving into private accommodation, we make it clear that there are risks involved in taking up a private tenancy or becoming a homeowner.”
Harrow has one of the smallest housing stocks in London and currently spends up to £3million a year housing families in temporary accommodation.
Under the scheme, people wanting to move out of their council property and buy their own can receive up to £38,000.
Those wanting to downsize to another council property can receive up to £1,500 per bedroom they want to give up.
Grants will also be available for those who want to start renting in the private sector and people can receive up to between £1,500 and £6,000 for leaving their council home.
So far this year the council says 25 people have taken advantage of the downsizing grant and a couple with two children are set to receive £38,000 to help buy their own property under the scheme.
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