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Working to purchase Local Authority Housing Fund homes

The Council is partnering with the housing association Town & Country Housing (TCH) on a project to add 15 new homes to local social housing stock.

This follows the award of funds from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ £500 million capital fund – the Local Authority Housing Fund (LAHF).

Initially the properties will be used to provide homes for families fleeing conflict via the Ukrainian and Afghan resettlement and relocation schemes. Once there is no further need to house these families the homes will be available, forever, for other households on the Council’s housing register.

Working with TCH means that the project will benefit from the specialist experience TCH has in investing in and managing social and affordable housing. TCH will look to purchase suitable properties for this project in locations close to amenities across the borough. At least two suitable properties are already in the pipeline and the Council and TCH hope that all purchases will be complete by March 2024.

Hugo Pound, Cabinet member for Housing & Planning, said: ‘The Council is delighted to be able to partner with TCH and central Government on this initiative to provide more social and affordable housing in the Borough. It is exciting that the Council can work with TCH to increase its housing stock which, for many years to come, will be available to individuals and families on our own waiting list, once Ukrainians and Afghans on approved resettlement schemes either return home or move on to other accommodation of their choosing.

Bob Heapy, Chief Executive of TCH, said: ‘This is an amazing project that we’re proud to be part of. It’s impossible to understand the pressure that those fleeing conflict may feel. But by being able to offer families a safe, secure place to call home we will, I am sure, be making a positive difference to their immediate and future lives.

‘We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council on this and are busy identifying properties for the project. TCH colleagues will use their experience and skills to make sure the homes are ready for people to move in, and will continue to support residents through their tenancy.

The decision to participate in the LAHF scheme is in line with one of the Council’s Focus on Five priorities – genuinely affordable housing and social rental housing.

Tunbridge Wells borough has a strong record in supporting families fleeing conflict and has welcomed more Ukrainian guests than other districts in the county and the Council has provided homes for refugee families from other conflict areas.

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