Council chiefs aim to cut numbers in emergency housing

Council chiefs hope to cut the number of families living in short-term and emergency housing from more than 400 to fewer than 150 over the next few years.

The move is partly aimed at cutting the use of bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) and helping people to live in better-quality housing.

It comes as council bosses try to rein in a £1.1 million budget overspend.

More of the emergency housing offered by Brighton and Hove City Council is likely to be owned by the council itself.

Officials are also looking at using a “dynamic purchasing system” similar to the set up blamed for significant problems with home to school transport.

Crucially, the council expects to be able to rent premises from many more providers than it was able to find in the transport sector, enabling it to keep better control of costs.

This will mean moving away from block contracts with a few big providers such as Baron Homes and Helgor Trading. These contracts are coming to an end.

One of the contracts, with KEM Property Services, resulted in an £18 million fraud investigation although Sussex Police is not yet understood to have completed its investigation.

The fraud allegations led to the departure of the council’s head of housing Jugal Sharma, the brother of KEM boss Ashley Parker.

The council’s Housing Committee will be asked to support the new arrangements at a meeting on Wednesday (13 November) before they are presented to the Policy and Resources Committee next month.

The Housing Committee meeting at Hove Town Hall is scheduled to start at 4pm and should be open to the public.

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