Meanwhile use for Royal Jubilee Court
Unfortunately, there has been some misinformation regarding the 'meanwhile use' for Royal Jubilee Court.
To be clear, the site is only being used to house homeless families that have a local connection to Havering, and is not being used to house asylum seekers or illegal immigrants, who are the responsibility of the Home Office.
With the rapid rise in social care costs and inadequate funding from central government, Havering Council has had to maximise the use of all the assets at its disposal to address some of the urgent accommodation needs facing some of our most vulnerable residents.
The Council has seen unprecedented numbers of families finding themselves homeless in the last 12 to 18 months.
In addition, the private rental market has seen a significant reduction, forcing us to place homeless families in hotels.
This is often for months on end and at great expense to the Council at a time when we're potentially unable to balance our budget.
Studies have shown that living in hotels long-term can negatively affect children’s schooling and well-being, as well as the long-term impacts of not having cooking facilities.
There has also been considerable impact on mental health and well-being for both parents and children.
To address this, the Council has taken the decision to re-open Royal Jubilee Court in Romford, to use as temporary accommodation for homeless families from the borough, while work progresses on the new Family Welcome Centre in Harold Hill.
The Royal Jubilee Court site is due for regeneration as part of borough-wide plans to deliver new homes, but such work is some ways off.
The use of Royal Jubilee Court for homeless families is only temporary and we will go back to the original regeneration plans once the new building opens in approximately two years time.
The site will be fully staffed, with security and CCTV provided 24 hours a day to ensure residents are safe.
Opening up an otherwise unoccupied building to help homeless families will also save the Council from having to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds for hotels, easing the strain on our budgets and on council taxpayers.