Torbay Council buys beachfront hotel to house homeless people amid ‘perfect storm’ crisis

A hotel overlooking Torquay’s seafront must be put into action in an attempt to alleviate the homeless crisis in Torbay.

Torbay council is taking the Richmond Hotel at Croft Road as a “stopgap solution” to its high-profile housing shortage for local residents and key workers.

At the start of the summer, the board reported a “perfect storm” created by soaring property prices and homeowners who are getting rich quick by taking advantage of AirBnB’s boom with properties that would previously be available on the market. rental.

More recently, the council has sought to play its role in the resettlement of refugees from Afghanistan, despite the government’s warning of the already critical housing situation.

The owners of the hotel have offered the building to City Council for a period of six months, to provide a combination of temporary family accommodation and accommodation for key workers.

The board says it will act as a “circuit breaker” until an alternative solution is found.

It is goods – not the coronavirus – which is becoming Devon’s hottest topic, now the terrible pandemic is brewing towards its conclusion.

As city dwellers head to the glorious Southwest to vacation – and live – in droves, there are clearly clear winners and losers.

Are there too many second homes? Are landlords taking advantage of a stay boom and prioritizing AirBnb customers over permanent tenants? Is Devon in the grip of a housing crisis?

These are questions we will be asking in the content challenge as part of the campaign. Prices outside Devon.

But it will never be anything but gloomy and pessimistic.

We’ve rounded up homes under £ 150,000 in the county that are perfect for first-time buyers and we’ll have regular updates on new build developments with affordable homes – and there will be more positive content like that here to come.

We highlight the ups and downs of the Devon property boom. Find our content here and sign up for our real estate newsletter here.

The number of families and individuals who are homeless and in need of temporary and permanent housing in Torbay is extremely high, according to the council, with housing officers currently working with more than 125 households of which a third are families with children .

In addition, there are more than 1,440 households waiting for affordable and social housing in the region.

Torbay has the lowest social housing stock in the country. House prices are rising as homeworkers seek to move west from major cities. Many rental properties have been sold or turned into vacation homes, as rents rise and there are up to 50 applications for every rental property put on the market.

Key workers – including social workers and other health professionals coming to the area to help emergency support services – also have difficulty finding adequate housing.

The Richmond Hotel has 47 rooms, 32 of which will be used for families and 15 for key workers.

Council chief Steve Darling said: “Torbay finds itself in an extremely difficult situation in terms of housing, with all segments of society struggling to find accommodation.

“Many families in temporary accommodation have to be moved every two days or worse yet, be uprooted and moved to temporary accommodation outside the area as far as London and Bath.

“This temporary solution with the Richmond Hotel will help us protect the mental health and well-being of our families, while providing some stability and continuity in terms of education and employment.

“It will also give our housing team more time to find longer term accommodation in Torbay, while providing a safe and secure place for our families in the interim. “

Cabinet member Mike Morey added, “It is essential that we continue to work with our partners to meet the growing demand for temporary and permanent accommodation in the bay.

“The council is working on a number of initiatives, but we need to do everything we can to ease the pressure in the short term.”

Hotel staff will be on-site 24 hours a day and council staff will be on-site daily to provide support and work with families to find suitable accommodation.

The first families and key workers will move in from September 14.

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