Letting agent wins new deal to house homeless

Property services group Orchard & Shipman has done a deal with Bedford Borough Council to use private rental stock to house homeless people.

The contract is the first time a private sector leasing arrangement has been used as a housing solution by the council.

John Taylor, CEO for Orchard & Shipman, said: “The private rented sector has always played a significant role for local authorities, helping them alleviate housing shortages within restrictive budgets and reduced traditional affordable social housing supply.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Bedford Borough Council to help them combat homelessness throughout the borough.”

Orchard & Shipman, a traditional private lettings agency which ventured into the social housing sector a few years ago and now operates from nine offices nationwide, will supply a minimum of 62 self-contained, good-quality properties obtained from private landlords for periods of up to three years initially.

The properties will be used by the council to house those deemed as homeless, thus meeting the council’s statutory duty to provide suitable temporary accommodation to homeless households.

Councillor Roger Rigby, portfolio holder for adult services at the council, said: “In these challenging economic times, letting a home has become more desirable, and the private rented sector is becoming a more vital part of the council’s housing strategy.

“This approach will improve service availability for some individuals who would have otherwise been faced with homelessness if it had not been for this scheme.”