Innovative plans to provide truly affordable homes for Island families at risk of homelessness are revealed in Cabinet papers published yesterday (Wednesday).

In accordance with the Alliance Administration’s priority to address housing issues and homelessness on the Island, the proposals could see the council invest in high-quality relocatable modular homes to help meet the urgent housing needs of the Island.

Boasting maximum energy efficiency and low carbon footprints, the report seeks Cabinet support for the commissioning of 20 two-bed units, offering affordable rents and running costs, using land initially in the Newport area.

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Councillor Ian Stephens, deputy leader and Cabinet member for housing provision and housing needs, said:

“The Alliance Group fully recognise the need for additional affordable housing to home Island residents but years of austerity and the lack of funding available to the council make it difficult to do as much as we would like as quickly as we would like.

“This approach is an important first step in doing what we can in helping people to have a roof over their heads.

“We are acutely aware that there are now hundreds more families who have rented their property over many years that have never before approached the council for support, but now find themselves facing homelessness through no fault of their own.

“Their situation is more often than not due to their landlords’ changing circumstances, perhaps deciding to sell in the recent housing boom or moving into the ‘staycation’ market and Airbnb where there are higher profits and little government regulation.

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“Even the traditional winter easing up on need for holiday accommodation cannot be fully relied on due to the continuing demand for these properties.

“This combination of factors has also resulted in a housing crisis for many low and median income Island families including many keyworkers in health, social care and other essential public services.”

The council has identified around 200 Island families that have an urgent housing need for temporary accommodation and are at risk of homelessness in the short term. There are many more that would love their own home but fall just outside an urgent need.

It is hoped the project could become a pilot for future council schemes to deliver affordable homes for Islanders with new opportunities for skills and jobs in Island companies working in this sector.

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The aim is to achieve as close to possible zero carbon in construction and long-term energy use in line with the Island’s Climate and Environment Strategy and its UNESCO Biosphere designation.

Cabinet members are due to consider the report at their meeting next Thursday (13 January).

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isle of wighter
isle of wighter
7 months ago

it is just another excuse to build more houses that is all.

Perhaps if councillor stephens actually did his job as it should be done and prevented all taxpayer funded moves to the island by those on benefits, those claiming asylum, refugees as well as other individuals who cannot support theirselves and prevented all house purchases, where the property will be empty for most of the year as a second home, then we would not be seeing a so called housing shortage.

it isn’t difficult is it stephen – we do not want houses being built on the islands greenfields as it creates more pollution and damages the environment..less people, not more homes


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