Homeless families receive welcome housing agreement

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Homeless families in the area have received a huge boost after housing bosses reached positive agreement on the use of 41 completed or soon to be built homes in Oxley Park.

On Thursday, the council’s Development Control Committee approved a tenure change to the site, and as a result, 41 families of around 100 currently being housed in bed and breakfasts will be able to move into a new home. Most will move into 26 completed homes immediately, with the remainder moving in as soon as the new homes are built.

Cabinet Member for Housing Peter Geary and Chair of the Development Control Committee Brian White recently met to see whether the situation could be resolved.

Mr Geary said: “We can now house around half of our homeless families very quickly in existing homes, which is great news. It also sends a clear message to developers and housing associations that we’re willing to be flexible in Milton Keynes. I appreciate that some political positions have been put aside to reach this decision and I thank those people for listening and working with us to find a solution.

“We will continue to work with all groups to find a permanent solution. We need to change the policy at Cabinet, and then we can do more to literally put a roof over people’s heads. This may still be a challenge, but one we are committed to see through”.

Mr White said: “The people of Milton Keynes deserve a sustainable approach to housing. This does not mean doubling their rent from £80 to £155, but it is about creating mixed, thriving communities with homes in a range of levels of affordability, which in turn means we will free up some properties for people who need them the most.”

On Wednesday council officers will take new planning guidelines to Cabinet to seek approval. The new guidelines will give members a clearer policy to consider when making decisions about the use of properties. Faster decisions would help provide homes to families and individuals in desperate need of accommodation.