Hammersmith & FulhamNews

Council saves homeless shelter from private buyers

By Adrian Zorzut, Local Democracy Reporter

A west London council has approved plans to buy a homeless shelter that was at risk of closing down.

Hammersmith and Fulham councillors voted in favour of the purchase of the property in Lillie Road, Fulham, during a cabinet meeting on Monday night.

The shelter is expected to be bought using a combination of the council’s funds and a grant from the Greater London Authority.

Labour councillor Frances Umeh, who introduced the report backing the purchase to cabinet, said: “As the cost-of-living crisis continues to take its toll and there’s an increase in Section 21 no-fault evictions, there is a rise in the number of people who are sleeping rough.

“It is vital that this property at Lillie Road continues to provide a place that residents can call home.”

It comes as the council said it secured the seven-room property in Fulham for a price “significantly below” market rate – which has not been released to the public.

The 13-bed shelter is owned by Home Group and run as a homeless hostel by the charity, St Mungo’s. The council offered to buy the property after Home Group said it wanted to sell as part of a “divestment strategy” in early 2023.

Unlike other homeless shelters in the borough, the home offers level access for those with mobility issues. Its sale to a private buyer would have likely seen the shelter close for good.

In the first six months of 2023, the borough has seen more rough sleepers – 303 – than in the whole of the previous year.

The council said the cost-of-living crisis and housing supply pressure are pushing more people to sleep rough.

Pictured top: Hammersmith and Fulham council  (Picture: Google street View)

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