Calls to provide tenants in temporary housing with basic essentials and Wifi

People moving into temporary homes should be provided with basic kitchen equipment and bedding, according to councillors.
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Windsor Court

Now the idea is being looked into by housing chiefs.

The move comes after Green councillor Amy Heley and Labour’s Nichole Brennan asked Brighton and Hove City Council’s Housing Committee to help reduce the costs for people moving into temporary housing.

The council’s current contracts for temporary housing are due to end in May next year which the councillors said was an opportunity to make changes.

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In a joint letter to the Housing Committee, which met at Hove Town Hall on Wednesday (September 18) the councillors asked for the council to pay service charges rather than tenants.

They also asked the council to provide laundry facilities, basic kitchen equipment, bedding and free Wifi.

Councillor Heley told the committee: “The council has a duty to ensure that temporary accommodation is a safe, comfortable and welcoming place and the current conditions do not meet these requirements.

“Extra charges for basic services result in unnecessary stress and financial burden for people at points of crisis in their lives so the council should alleviate this as much as we can by covering the cost.”

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Service charges cover the cost of communal lighting, cleaning of common areas, heating and hot water where there are communal facilities.

Conservative councillor Mary Mears said that she understood the sentiment but there was a wide range of temporary accommodation, some of which had housed people for more than 10 years.

She said that she had been around a great deal of temporary housing and some of it was not acceptable but “it is a roof”.

Councillor Mears was concerned about the cost because it was asking the council to use money from the Housing Revenue Account, which is funded by tenants’ rents.

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She said: “We need to be mindful where it’s going. I support the sentiment behind it and I share the concerns.

“But there are a lot of costings in there that really do need to be looked at in detail.”

Councillor Mears asked it be made clear that the equipment would be for short-term temporary accommodation only.

Labour councillor Theresa Fowler said: “I’ve heard from a lot of people in temporary accommodation who find it quite isolated and lonely and a lot of them can’t afford Wifi.

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“I think it would be a really good idea to have Wifi provided.”

Green councillor David Gibson said that the request probably dealt with short-term temporary accommodation and a report would be needed to set out the options and costs.

He said: “One thing we have thought about and tenants have said in surveys is they have difficulty when they are out of town in getting back into Brighton to seek services, get help and contact their communities.

“This is a large sources of concern and distress which we could look at as well.”

The committee agreed to commission a report for a future meeting.