Council adds to available rooms for homeless and plans more efficient, streamlined service

Thurrock Council has bought property in Grays which it will convert to a place for the borough's homeless to be housed.

THE number of rooms available to some of Thurrock’s most vulnerable residents is expanding to ensure people are kept off the streets.

Thurrock Council has leased three rooms on Clarence Road in Grays and purchased Brooke House, a building with ten rooms, on Brooke Road.

The properties are expected to provide more temporary accommodation places for homeless people in Grays and will add to the 47 rooms already in use in buildings across Clarence Road and Charles Street.

Last month the council responded to calls by homeless charities that it needed to do more by saying that it planned to increase its available rooms.

Details of the extra rooms have emerged in a council report which states that there are “around 180 households in need of temporary accommodation within the borough”.

The cost of making Brooke House suitable for use as temporary accommodation is expected to cost the council £162,500 but this will be offset by the reduction in money the council needs to pay out in on hiring rooms elsewhere. In total the annual savings are expected to be £108,739.

The council’s Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee will meet next week to discuss plans to streamline homeless services when contracts with existing providers come to an end next year.

The report states that the council’s homeless and crisis intervention service, long term housing service, and rough sleepers service will all be brought together under a single contract with a new provider.

That provider would be expected to lease the three temporary accommodation buildings on Charles Street, Clarence Road and Brooke Road from the council under an agreement that would make them responsible for all repair and insurance costs.

The report notes: “It is proposed that the three current contracts are brought together and procured as one contract with a single provider.

“Currently one provider delivers all three contracts which has enabled the council to maintain a seamless service, build cohesive partnership and strengthen expertise to meet the needs of residents who are often very vulnerable with complex needs.”