Hackney Council eyes £36m hostel in Seven Sisters Road as homeless numbers continue to soar
PUBLISHED: 11:18 24 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:52 29 March 2017
Hackney Council wants to splash out £36million on a 148-room hostel in Seven Sisters Road so it can stop housing homeless people outside the borough.
As highlighted in the Gazette’s Hidden Homeless campaign, the housing crisis is showing no sign of slowing down. As of February, there were 2,850 Hackney households in temporary accommodation. That’s up by 446 from the previous year.
And because of the shortage of temporary homes available to the town hall, 877 of those 2,850 have been put in housing outside of the borough.
At the moment, the town hall is housing 10 to 15 homeless families a week, so the chance to buy a 15-year lease on the Finsbury Park hostel is attractive to bosses – who fear if they don’t snap it up, another council will.
The development is on the old Royal Park Hotel site and is expected to be finished this spring. It is owned by Top Class Investments, which already owns the Metropolitan and St Peters in Hackney.
Bosses did enquire about buying the freehold of the site, but were told to come back in five years.
The hostel will provide 148 homes for “vulnerable single adults” and families. There will be 104 double rooms, 38 triple rooms and 6 quad rooms, with some for wheelchair use. And it would be filled up within “months”.
Hackney’s planning officers have given the green light for the purchase, but cabinet members will review the papers on Monday night before it’s signed off.
The report reads: “The cost of the accommodation is competitive and reduces Hackney’s reliance upon expensive nightly paid annexe emergency accommodation of similar sizes. Such accommodation is becoming increasingly hard to acquire and the property offers Hackney the ability to continue to provide this type of service managed by the in-house council team.”