Homelessness and poverty in Portsmouth are council's top priorities in 2019, says councillor
TACKLING homelessness and poverty in Portsmouth will be the city council's main priority next year, a councillor has said as she gave two homes to a new project.
Cllr Jeanette Smith was speaking last week as she approved the transfer of two houses in North End to the newly-formedÂ Portsmouth Community Housing Trust at a special resources meeting.
The homes, in Angerstein Road, will be renovated by the trust at an estimated cost of Â£320,000 and rented to families on the council's housing waiting list. Although the council will still own the properties, it will not need to fund any of the repair works.
Cllr Smith said she hoped this could spark a city-wide push for more social housing. 'I am delighted to support this recommendation,' she said.
'I think this administration's main priority for 2019 is going to be dealing with the acute homelessness in Portsmouth and the poverty that is happening in the city.
'The only caveat is I'd like to see more properties like this coming forwardÂ in 2019.
'These sorts of projects, although small, could spread across the city.'
Officers confirmed the arrangement.
Louise Wilders, the council's director of customer and communication, said: 'The rent will be at a social rent level and will take some of the pressure away from the city council in terms of housing needs for local people.
'The houses are in a current state of dilapidation. The housing trust will cover the costs to get them into a good place.'
The council's finance manager, Wayne Layton, added: 'At the moment the amount of work that needs to be carried out just doesn't make them economically viable for the council. Transferring them over to the trust is a good deal for us and for the people of Portsmouth.'
If the homes were sold in their current state it is estimated they wouldÂ fetch between Â£240,000 and Â£270,000 for both of them on the open market.
Funding for the conversion will come from national grants secured by the trust that would not be available to the council.
The properties were formerly used as the headquartersÂ of the Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service (PARCS) which has since moved to Fratton.