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Councillors approve plans to create homes for care leavers

PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 September 2019

The council has agreed to lease properties in Royal Parade, Woodward Road and Gale Street to Habitat for Humanity. Picture: Google

The council has agreed to lease properties in Royal Parade, Woodward Road and Gale Street to Habitat for Humanity. Picture: Google

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Plans to let several "dilapidated and hazardous" council flats to a charity which will refurbish them for care leavers have been unanimously approved by cabinet members.

Barking and Dagenham councillors agreed the proposals to lease properties in Royal Parade, Woodward Road and Gale Street to Habitat for Humanity, an international organisation that fights poverty housing.

The flats - set to provide accommodation for 11 care leavers - are part of the council's general fund commercial portfolio and have been deemed too costly to refurbish by the local authority.

"The council owns several dilapidated flats above shops which are in a hazardous condition and are incapable of being commercially let," the cabinet report stated.

During the meeting on Tuesday, September 17, Cllr Cameron Geddes said: "We had a number of dilapidated flats above some of our shops that need to be looked into and that's the problem.

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"The way we're going to solve that is by bringing in Habitat for Humanity and charging them with bringing in repairs and refurbishment, at which point we are then in a position to offer them as accommodation for care leavers who are at risk of becoming homeless.

"These people will then pay the rent back to Habitat for Humanity and so we complete the circle."

Cllr Margaret Mullane said: "The ward councillors in Royal Parade were consulted and they were very pleased at that.

"Habitat for Humanity is a good project from what we can see and what we were most reassured about is that the council are going to appoint an agent to oversee that so if there is a problem, then we can step in and support the people that are hoping to access the units."

Cllr Evelyn Carpenter called it a "very imaginative report" adding: "It's giving homes and hope to our care leavers."

Council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell told the meeting: "We should be very pleased that we are being recognised for the fact that we are bringing back into use redundant shops and premises above shops in this borough. From 750, we're now down to 120 odd.

"We've made a very proactive effort in bringing redundant spaces back into life to allow people to use them as homes."

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