New Southwark Council Good Homes Standard for temporary accommodation

10 March 2021

Southwark Council’s cabinet has met to discuss the ongoing homelessness crisis, and agreed an action plan to address the issue of temporary accommodation in Southwark.

This includes a new Good Homes Standard for temporary accommodation, which clearly sets out the expected standards of homes for those who find themselves in need.

The UK has reached a national crisis in temporary accommodation. Shelter has estimated that there are now over 250,000 people in temporary accommodation across the UK, including many children, with an already desperate situation worsened by the COVID pandemic. London is disproportionately impacted and in Southwark, with over 3,000 households placed in temporary accommodation at the end of 2020, the challenge of finding appropriate and affordable accommodation for residents is immense.

The cabinet report, agreed yesterday, brings forward an action plan for the ongoing procurement of temporary accommodation, fully utilising the council’s own stock while also giving the council more flexibility to find good quality accommodation in a greater range of locations.

Alongside this, there is a significant investment in quality through the new Good Homes Standard for Temporary Accommodation. This builds on Southwark Council’s existing commitment not to use Bed & Breakfast accommodation for families, recognising that ‘temporary accommodation’ can actually be someone’s home now for several years, especially given the growing waiting list for general needs council housing and reduced number of lets.

Among other things, the Southwark Good Homes Standard, will improve tenure security for those in temporary accommodation, and seek to secure essentials like a cooker and fridge for people, when they first move into a property. It expects that properties will be of an appropriate size, will have the relevant safety checks, levels of cleanliness and that they are free from hazards or pests. The Standard also ensures that there is enough room for people’s personal items and soft furnishings are good to use. 

Councillor Helen Dennis, cabinet member for social support and homelessness, said: “When people find themselves in desperate situations and become homeless, they should expect the help we offer to them to ease their already very difficult circumstances. Our ambition with the Good Homes Standard is to ensure that they move to a place of safety, warmth and comfort with their families whilst waiting to find a permanent home, long term.”

Alongside these policy papers and action plan, an additional £4m has been approved for temporary accommodation through the budget process, in order to meet the increase in demand as a result of the COVID pandemic, and to meet the anticipated demand going into 2021/2 especially as arrears have built up in the private rented sector.

You can read the new Good Homes Standard, appendix 6.

Page last updated: 10 March 2021

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