Coventry & Warwickshire

High rise to house Coventry's homeless families

Caradoc Hall Image copyright Google
Image caption Coventry City Council's bill for putting people in temporary accommodation rose from £570,000 in 2013-14 to £4.1m this year

Coventry City Council is to rent a high-rise tower block for homeless people in a bid to tackle the rising cost of finding them accommodation.

Some of the 350 families needing accommodation have been in temporary shelter such as hotels and B&Bs for more than two years, a meeting heard.

They can cost up to £100 a night, which has led to a £4.1m bill this year.

The five-year lease on Caradoc Hall, Henley Green, will save £1.2m a year and house more than 100 people.

The 17-storey high-rise block will cost the council £1.7m in rent, said the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

Councillor Ed Ruane, cabinet member for housing, outlined a plan to address the problem, which included starting the lease, at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The tower block was initially built by the council in 1965 before later being used by Coventry University for student accommodation.

It was then sold to a private investor for £2m in 2008.

"Having visited the B&Bs across Coventry, the situation is that a lot of these kids are growing up in them, which is clearly not appropriate," Mr Ruane said.

"Is it right and proper that we address that.

"It is also no secret that we are in discussion to build and buy our own houses."

Like other councils, the Labour-run authority is legally obliged to find accommodation for families with children who have been in B&Bs for six weeks, the meeting heard.

Opposition leader Councillor Gary Ridley said the plans made "perfect sense".

The lease, which will be funded from the council's 2018-19 budget, could be signed by December, with the first properties available for use the same month or in January 2019.

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