26 October 2021 | Property management | Back to Blog

How guardianship can complement Temporary Accommodation

Housing homeless families is rightly a priority for local authorities. But Dot Dot Dot guardians can be a helpful addition to communities and councils’ regeneration plans explains CEO Peter Brown.

We get a lot of questions about how we interface with Temporary Accommodation (TA), and so I thought it would be helpful to set out how choosing to work with Dot Dot Dot can be a useful element of local authorities’ strategies for TA.

It’s worth being upfront that Dot Dot Dot’s view is that, if a home can be used for permanent, settled housing then it should be used as such. And, if a home is available for a long enough period to house a household that needs temporary accommodation, then it should be used for that. 

However, property guardianship as a meanwhile housing service can still be useful in these same homes. It fills in the gaps when an estate is being readied for development, and is an option if a property could not be brought up to the necessary standard for a family in a financially-viable way.

The increasing pressure to provide Temporary Accommodation

Often the households housed in TA are families including children, and for those who need to rely on it, “temporary” can be an inaccurate description since it can be far from temporary, and can sometimes last for years. This length of wait is due to the lack of supply of low cost rented homes in the social housing sector, and especially a shortage of family-sized homes. Unfortunately, too, the standard of accommodation can be far from desirable. It’s not uncommon to accommodate a family in a large room or bedsit, which is the much-criticised ‘bed and breakfast’ accommodation. 

The bill to local authorities for TA gives one an insight to the scale of the problem caused by rising demand for social housing and not enough homes created to satisfy that demand. According to Inside Housing, in 2019/20 local authorities spent £1.2bn on TA, up 9% from the previous year and double what was spent in 2014/15. What’s more, 87% of these monies went to private landlords or private providers.

Helping create resilient communities

Some of our clients say that having a group of guardians living alongside temporary accommodation homes is helpful because it helps to create a mixed and resilient community, even on a temporary and meanwhile basis. Guardians can report on maintenance issues and anti-social behaviour, and all our guardians commit to volunteering for 16 hours a month, often on local projects which can benefit local residents.

In most regeneration schemes, a proportion of homes will necessarily become vacant too close to the target end date to be able to move in TA residents, for example within three to 12 months. While it wouldn’t always be appropriate or possible for local authorities to house the households who need TA in this time, Dot Dot Dot is able to make use of these short term properties. 

Guardianship can work where Temporary Accommodation can’t

Any property that requires too much investment to bring it to the necessary standard for TA could still be suitable for guardian occupation. Dot Dot Dot works to strict health and safety, and licensing standards, however this is different to the standard required to house families, which gives councils an option when they have assets of varied condition.

So, where estate regeneration timings and the finances allow properties to be used to prevent homelessness and are of the right standard, Dot Dot Dot supports that use. But we can be an excellent option to throw into the mix when money or time are tight, or when vulnerable existing residents need support.

If you would like to find out more about how we could work with you on a new or existing project, contact us at partnerships@dotdotdotproperty.com.