Agenda item

Local Authority Housing Fund Round 2 : Purchase of 5 Homes


Ashely Jackson, Head of Housing and Planning introduced the report and made the following comments:


  • In March 2023, it was announced that the Local Authority Housing Fund would be expanded by £250m for a second round of funding (LAHF R2);
  • Thanet has been identified as eligible for capital grant funding with an indicative allocation of £694,000 in funding to purchase four homes for the resettlement element and 1 home for the Temporary Accommodation element;
  • In order to utilise the grant, it was necessary to match fund the acquisitions with £788,860 of borrowing within the HRA capital programme and these proposals would be presented to Cabinet on 16th November. The properties had been identified and had to be purchased by 31st March 2024;
  • Business plan modelling showed that the scheme generated a surplus from year one due to the grant subsidy. This surplus could be used to subsidise other parts of the Affordable Homes Programme;


  • Officers were proposing that the homes were let at an affordable rent level, in line with the Council’s approved Tenancy Strategy;
  • Discussions had taken place with a local developer who was currently developing the Westwood Cross site to purchase five x three bed units. The units would be an ‘off the shelf’ purchase with no refurbishments or adaptations needed. They were nearing completion and would be ready soon;
  • The developer had accepted a provisional offer, subject to approval of £1.4m and this was 80% of the market value;
  • The proposed offer had been run through the Council’s business plan modelling and the results indicated that the scheme generated a surplus for the HRA business plan from year one due to the grant subsidy;
  • This proposal would be presented to Cabinet on 16 November 2023. The report would recommend that Cabinet approve the use of £694,000 of grant funding and £788,860 HRA match funding from the already approved HRA capital programme, to purchase five units for the LAHF R2.


Councillor Whitehead also made comments as follows:


  • Members were being asked to consider and respond to the proposals going forward to Cabinet regarding the purchase of five properties using the Local Government Housing Grant;
  • This was a grant that had been presented to Members before. The Council applied for and were granted £1.19 million in the first tranche of this Grant to provide homes for those who arrived in the country via the following approaches:


?  The Afghan Citizen Resettlement Scheme (including eligible British Nationals under this scheme) (ACRS);

?  Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP);

?  Ukraine Family Scheme (UFS);

? Homes for Ukraine (HFU);

? Ukraine Extension Scheme (UES).


  • In this tranche of funding the Council had been granted £694,000. Through this the Council intended to provide five homes. Four had to have at least three bedrooms and one was required to be used for temporary accommodation;
  • As with the previous tranche of funding, the timescales around this funding were extraordinarily tight. Therefore, in order to deliver the homes required in the period given, direct purchase was the only realistic way forward. This aspect of funding limited the Council’s creativity with how it could better provide housing using this grant;
  • However, the net result remained the same which was that the grant enabled the Council to support households who needed support at an incredibly difficult time, for the allotted time that they were allowed to remain in the UK by central government;
  • The funding also enabled the Council to grow its general portfolio as well as supporting the growth of its housing overall;
  • These homes were significant not just in what they could achieve in supporting those who had experienced war and displacement, but also in what they could do to support other vulnerable residents;


  • Due to the scale of this grant and its provision of 46% of the overall cost, the rental of these properties produced a surplus from year one, as demonstrated by the provided graph;
  • This was especially significant as part of the Council’s strategy, as it provided a revenue stream to not only offset borrowing to produce the 400 plus properties planned for general usage, but also to support further housing acquisition and production;
  • It was rare that both moral and financial benefits to align and this was one of those rare cases; 
  • Life often calls on society to do the right thing for others. This moral imperative ran through every decision that was made by the Council and was especially pertinent in this case. To be able to provide for even more residents, specifically through fulfilling the moral duty was a circumstance that rarely appeared in local government. This strategy provided such an opportunity;
  • The Portfolio Holder thanked Ashley Jackson and her team for all the work in putting together these proposals that were before the Panel.


Members asked questions and made comments as follows:


  • Members thanked officers and Members who had managed to put these proposals together and secured the funding for housing development for Thanet;
  • Another Member asked whether the dwellings were in one location or scattered across the district as this had implications for the community integration of residents to occupy these new homes;
  • Did the Council have a liaison officer to assist the new families coming into the district to settle in their new homes?
  • Members welcomed this project and were particularly full of praise for the approach to get the homes grouped together to enable the new residents to live as a community that would settle in well with the local residents.


Ashley Jackson responded to Member comments and questions as follows:


  • The new residents would occupy new homes that were all grouped together and that way they would make a community;
  • There was a funded post for a Ukrainian Liaison Officer working with the incoming families.


Members noted the report.

Supporting documents: