Hostels regeneration project put on hold

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A high demand for Crawley hostels for homeless people has meant there will be delays in them getting much needed refurbishment.

Last year Crawley Borough Council started its Hostels Regeneration Project to sell off hostels to be refurbished. Phase one was completed and one hostel was sold but other sales were unsuccessful.

Now, due to an increase in funds for use in temporary housing, the council is able to carry out the work itself but high numbers of homeless people needing help means there will still be delays in carrying out the work needed.

Cabinet member for housing Cllr Richard Burrett said: “All hostels continue to be fully used to provide temporary accommodation. There will be no impact on homeless people going into winter.

“We will continue to meet our statutory duties and in the event of cold weather triggering an additional duty towards rough sleepers we will continue our partnership working with Open House and our usual emergency temporary arrangements to meet any need.”

The council is working on a number of ways to tackle the number of families currently placed in bed and breakfasts from part-buying its own properties, making changes to the allocations policy and rewarding those who work to prevent their homelessness by renting privately.

Cllr Burrett added: “We are also looking at longer-term projects to increase our overall temporary accommodation portfolio by working with partners to procure and maximise self-contained units.

“We hope that by using a combination of methods we will be able to reduce numbers and be more flexible in our response to any fluctuation in demand.”

Cllr Stephen Joyce, shadow portfolio holder for housing, said: “With the number of people needing temporary accommodation, they will need to be refurbished. If we lose them (for refurbishment) we have to put them in B&Bs.

“If you are a homeless person from Crawley you don’t want to go down to the coast. Bed and breakfast isn’t cheap. I would grow hostels more. They need more self contained flats. These have not.”