A new forum for homeless residents living in temporary accommodation has proved successful in providing information and advice in Brent. The event at Brent Council's Civic Centre today (Wed 7 December) was organised by the Council and attended by nearly 100 people.
The aim of the event was to provide those living in temporary accommodation with advice about their housing options, how to keep details of their circumstances up to date, and to understand the process of rehousing. Residents attending were able to discuss any concerns they may have with their temporary accommodation.
Those living in temporary accommodation who have been accepted as homeless under homelessness legislation often have to wait for long periods to be rehoused into settled housing, especially if they are waiting for larger homes. Applicants are required to bid for available homes on Brent's choice based lettings website, Locata.
Brent currently has around 3, 000 people living in temporary accommodation and a severely limited number of homes available every year. In the whole of 2015/16 there were only 141 three bedroom homes and 247 two bedroom homes available for occupation and significantly less for larger bedroom homes.
More of these events are planned over the coming months.
Emma Hing, from Willesden, who is in temporary accommodation and has four children ranging in ages from 17 to two attended the event and said:
"It's really difficult living in temporary accommodation so any advice we can get is really useful. I got the letter inviting me and am glad I came along. I understand now that I have to be more active in bidding for properties and hopefully my situation will improve soon."
Councillor Harbi Farah, Cabinet Member for Housing, said:
"We are holding these events because so that we can break down the information barriers between us and residents living in temporary accommodation. Some residents don't have access to the internet and others can find it harder to access the right information. From the residents I spoke to they all thought the forum was useful and a good idea and we have more planned."