Forest Gate hotel to become permanent emergency accommodation for homeless people
PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 September 2020
A Forest Gate hotel is set to become permanent emergency homelessness accommodation after it was used to house rough sleepers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Newham Council’s local development committee agreed plans to transform the Hartley Hotel in Romford Road into a 73-room homeless hostel.
The meeting heard that the borough had a shortage of quality accommodation for those facing homelessness and the council had housed more than 250 rough sleepers during the Covid-19 lockdown, which put further pressure on services.
The town hall block booked the Hartley Hotel, located close to the junction with Green Street, earlier this year when the Government ordered councils to house all rough sleepers to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
The proposal for its redevelopment includes 73 rooms with six of those designated for users with disabilities.
All will have an en-suite with wash basin and a shower, and some larger rooms will also have a kitchenette.
Documents released ahead of the meeting, which was held on Monday, September 21, detail the extent of Newham’s homelessness crisis.
A report put before councillors stated: “The homelessness and rough sleeping strategy states that in 2018/19, 612 individuals were identified as rough sleeping.
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“This represents an increase of 135 per cent since 2015/16 where there were 260 individuals identified as rough sleepers.”
Two thirds of residents should be from Newham, the meeting heard.
Councillor John Gray, the council’s lead member for housing, said he had visited the hotel to complete a street count.
He said: “What we don’t want is for richer boroughs of London to move people they have to house into Newham and not provide adequate provision ourselves.
“We are having a big growth in the amount of money we are spending on this provision.”
He added that the council would prosecute rogue landlords who do not provide adequate accommodation for homeless people.
“We will be watching this,” Cllr Gray added.
Nigel Young, on behalf of the developer, said: “The applicant will put forward a very rigours management routine.
“There will also be a code of conduct for residents that they will have to adhere to. Any vacancies would be offered to Newham first.”
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