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Winchester City Council receives Local Authority Housing Fund grant

Winchester City Council has been awarded a government grant of just over £2.7 million pounds to help mitigate expected pressures on homelessness and social housing resources.

The grant has been awarded as part of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ Local Authority Housing Fund which is designed to ensure humanitarian schemes offering sanctuary via a safe and legal entry route to those fleeing conflict have safe, longer-term accommodation.

The fund is in place so that areas that have generously welcomed substantial numbers of Ukrainian refugees are not disadvantaged by the increased pressures on the existing housing and homelessness systems.

For Winchester, the grant will be used to provide a total of 17 additional homes by purchasing and converting houses that are currently operating as houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) on our estates back into individual family homes. These additional homes are over and above the 1000 new homes the council has already committed to provide between 2020 and 2030 and will be used to help prevent homelessness for those seeking refuge from conflict in our district.

Cllr Paula Ferguson, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community and Housing said:

“We are proud to be a welcoming and supportive district for people who are seeking sanctuary when fleeing conflict. Residents of the Winchester district have shown enormous generosity in opening their homes to refugees from Ukraine, and we are proud to have one of the highest numbers of hosts across Hampshire. However, we know that the hosting system is not sustainable in the long term and in time these temporary arrangements will come to an end. Therefore we need to find longer term solutions without disadvantaging our residents.

“I am therefore very pleased we are being awarded this grant. It will allow us to convert homes which are rented room by room back into family homes and at the same time offer longer term security to those seeking refuge. As these are over and above the 1000 new homes we have already committed to provide, it will allow us to provide additional accommodation without putting further pressure on our housing stock given current housing demand. The additional 17 homes will be also be retained by the council in the longer term.”

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