COMMENT: Pilot scheme is a start toÂ tackle homesÂ shortage
It's hardly a secret that the shortage of social housing is a big issue in Portsmouth. The city council has a long housing waiting list, but is very limited in what it can do to increase the number of affordable tenanted properties.
So any scheme that creates accommodation for those who cannot raise the money to buy their own home or rent at market levels is to be welcomed.
On page 10 we report how the city council could lease two unused properties in North End to the newly-formed Portsmouth Community Housing Trust. The pilot scheme would see the charity spend around Â£320,000 to make them habitable and then rent them out at a low rate to people on the council's housing waiting list. Funding for the conversion will come from national grants secured by the trust
The empty former home of the Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service in Angerstein Road could be converted into flats, but we hope the properties are turned into homes for families because that's where the greatest need lies.
Of course we realise this will only get two families off the housing list. But if this pilot works, then hopefully other suitable disused properties can be identified and brought back into use for those who are desperate for somewhere to call home. Â
Father Bob White, a board member of the trust, said: 'It is hoped that people who are in need of homes are given more of an opportunity as a result of this. We also want to stop families becoming homeless. This is an attempt to break the cycle.'
We look forward to seeing these buildings brought back into use and hope that others are unearthed. But that's only half the solution. Because once the properties are renovated, the key must be to ensure that rents are set at a realistic level. They must be genuinely affordable for local families on low incomes, or the whole project will have been in vain.Â '‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹