Council housing for rent to refugees

Waltham Forest Council will buy 11 former council homes and 117 new-build flats to rent to refugees.

The council says it will use £15million in government funding for refugee housing and borrow a further £38m to purchase two housing blocks on Osier Road, Leyton.

The government is also giving the council £2.4m to buy 11 “street properties” to rent to refugees.

The 11 properties will all be former council homes which were sold through the right-to-buy scheme.

The two Leyton housing blocks to be purchased by the council are known as Alba House and Salix House. Developer Pocket Living completed the blocks on 16th October.

117 flats in Alba House will be exclusively offered to Afghan and Ukrainian refugees, while 80-flat Salix House will be sold via shared ownership.

According to a report on the decision, due to be approved on November 2, Pocket Living was “only prepared” to sell the council Alba House if it also bought Salix House.

Waltham Forest Council estimates it will need to provide long-term housing for about 100 households of the 471 Afghan and Ukranian households it supports.

The Home Office currently houses 150 children and 260 adults in contingency hotels in the borough, supported by refugee and resettlement officers employed by the council.

Part of Alba House will be funded by a £15.4m grant from the government’s £650m Refugee Housing Programme Fund, £126m of which is being distributed by City Hall.

Pocket Living says it builds “well-designed, affordable homes” for Londoners that are sold at least 20 per cent below market value.

One-bed homes at a Pocket Living development on Forest Road, Walthamstow, are on sale for £300,000 to £320,000 each.

Both Alba and Salix House will be owned by the council via its Housing Revenue Account, which is ring-fenced for housing.

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter