CONCERNS have been raised about Coventry City Council’s plan to use a tower block of flats to house vulnerable homeless families.
Local politician Ian Rogers claims the council should consider better options, and branded it a ‘shameless publicity stunt’.
And a long-time housing charity chief working with homeless people in the city, who did not want to be named, claims Caradoc Hall, Caradoc Close, Henley Green, would need massive investment to be made fit for temporary accommodation.
But the council approved plans to lease the flats for the next five years, potentially from later this month.
As we reported last week, the plan would release more than 100 properties for the city’s homeless, costing the council £1.7million.
It is intended to ease pressure on the council, which has spent more than £4million in 2017/18 on temporary housing including bed and breakfasts.
Council leaders say the flats will be refurbished to ‘a good standard’ before the building is made available.
In response to the news, the charity worker said: “Caradoc Hall? One assumes there will therefore be an absolutely massive refurbishment, on-site staffing 24/7 and risk assessments for offers of accommodation.”
Commenting on the claim on Facebook, another poster added: “It’s the worst building I’ve ever seen in my life.
“And then to place such a large number of people with complex needs in to one building.
“I struggle to believe it’s fit for habitation and complies with health and safety.”
The block was sold to Coventry University to be used as student accommodation in 1985.
The university sold the 17-storey-block in 2008, allegedly because it ‘wasn’t good enough’ for student housing, Rogers says.
Mr Rogers, who grew up nearby, criticised the plans as nothing more than a ‘cost-saving exercise’.
The Coventry UKIP chairman said: “The proposal aims to save money by moving families out of B&B accommodation but does not set out any action to take rough sleepers off the streets contrary to popular opinion.
“It has also been reported recently that there are over 1,000 properties in Coventry which have been empty for six months or more.
“Why has the council not taken action to bring any of these properties back into use?”
There were 150 registered homeless families in 2014/15 and this number has more than tripled in three years to 484, a council report states.
It shows there are nearly 150 homeless families with more than three children, 41 with more than four and 31 with more than five.
Future tenants at Caradoc Hall would be expected to pay utility costs such as heating bills while rental costs will be paid by the Salvation Army and the council.
We have contacted Coventry council for a response.