Sheltered schemes to close
Following resident consultation and careful consideration, three sheltered accommodation schemes are to close – Beech Court, Laceby; Stratford House, Grimsby and The Elms, Humberston.
The accommodation – now outdated and often unsuitable for the needs of older people, particularly those with mobility or disability issues – has been affected by declining demand and high tenancy turnover in recent years, all of which has a significant negative financial impact on Shoreline’s finances.
The 35 affected residents have been notified of the decision and we will:
- rehouse or assist in rehousing existing residents
- offer home-loss payments (subject to any deductions) per qualifying household (minimum one year residence)
- provide a variable disturbance payment per qualifying household, to help with moving costs
- provide designated relocation support officers to assist in the rehousing.
Shoreline carried out consultation with directly-affected tenants, local residents, partner organisations and stakeholders after the plans were proposed as part of the long-term economic interests of the housing charity.
While the majority of residents in two of the schemes were not in favour of closure, Shoreline has undertaken careful and detailed consideration of all factors in making its decision, including:
- the outdated design and unsuitable layout of the accommodation
- the inaccessibility of parts of certain schemes to those with mobility issues
- the location of two of the schemes far from local amenities
- lack of demand, ability to relet and declining rental revenue
- the unpopularity of studio style flats with little room for modern living
- the long-term cost of major modernisation.
In addition, the government has imposed a 1% rent reduction to sheltered accommodation from 2017/18 to 2019/20 which further worsens the financial position.
Put simply - the long-term cost required to maintain, manage and modernise the six schemes (Beech Court, The Elms and Stratford House along with the three planned for consultation in 2018) exceeds the forecast rental income by around £4.44m - severely draining Shoreline’s finances as a housing charity.
Shoreline project manager Rachel Munoz said: “We understand residents enjoy the sense of community these schemes provide and appreciate how difficult this is for them but we need to do what is right, not just for existing residents but also for the wider benefit of Shoreline residents and future generations of tenants. We have to face the stark reality that these schemes are simply no longer suitable and do not provide a standard of accommodation that we can be proud to offer.
“I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation. Our directly-affected tenants remain our priority and we will continue to support them throughout the process. We have advised residents that the rehousing is not a rushed process, they will be able to take the time they need to find a home that is suitable for their needs and preferences.”
Improved savings and the proceeds from the proposal will be invested by Shoreline in developing services, improving properties and the provision of modern new homes for affordable rent, shared ownership or home ownership.
No decision has been made on the future of Elliott House, Matthew Quinn House and Warwick House, Grimsby and consultation is planned for early 2018.