In December 2022, the Department of Levelling up, Housing and Communities announced a new £500m Local Authority Housing Fund to be implemented within financial years 2022/23 and 2023/24.

The purpose of this fund is to support selected local authorities in England to obtain and refurbish property in order to provide sustainable housing for those unable to secure their own accommodation resident in the UK under the following schemes Afghan Citizen Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) supporting people who fled Afghanistan after helping British Forces, and Ukraine Family Scheme, the Homes for Ukraine and the Ukraine Extension Scheme fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Grants paid to a local authority under this determination may only be used for the purposes that that the receipt may be used for in accordance with regulations made under section 11 of the Local Government Act 2003.

The council has power under S167(2e) of the Housing Act 1996, as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002, to establish a local lettings policy to enable us “to allocate particular accommodation to people of a particular description” in order to achieve a housing policy objective.

The Portsmouth Allocation Scheme policy section 16 specifies conditions by which a special letting arrangements may be applied.

  • Special lettings arrangements may be applied for new developments or

where a large number of homes are being let in one location, for example, following a major refurbishment.

  • Any special lettings arrangements will follow the general principles of the allocations scheme but may incorporate variations in order to create a more balanced community.
  • Details of any special letting’s arrangements will be published on the council website prior to the properties being allocated.
  • Special lettings arrangements will only apply to first lettings. Any subsequent vacancies will be let subject to the normal allocation scheme conditions.

Portsmouth City Council are adopting a special lettings policy for ten properties acquired via the Local Authority Housing fund.

ElementProperty typePCC commitment
Main element2- & 3-bedroom properties7
Bridging element 4 + bedroom properties3

Portsmouth City Council is adopting a special lettings policy for the allocation of the ten properties acquired through the Local Authority Housing fund for the purpose of those the scheme is intended for.

The allocation of seven properties will be to those under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy.

The allocation of three properties will be within the bridging scheme – Homes for Ukraine and will be allocated to families nominated via the Home Office.

Subsequent future voids of these properties will be retained by the council to be allocated via the housing register.

The aims of the special lettings plan are:

  • Ensure recent humanitarian schemes (Afghan and Ukraine schemes) which offer sanctuary, via an organised safe and legal entry route, to those fleeing conflict, provide sufficient longer-term accommodation to those they support.
  • Support areas with housing pressures which have generously welcomed substantial numbers of Ukrainian refugees so that these areas are not disadvantaged by increased pressures from these arrivals on the existing housing and homelessness systems.
  • Mitigate the expected increased pressures on local authority homelessness and social housing resources which arise from the eligible cohort as sponsorship/family placements/bridging accommodation arrangements come to an end by increasing the provision of affordable housing available to local authorities to support those in the cohort who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or in bridging accommodation.
  • Deliver accommodation that as far as possible allows for the future conversion of housing units to support wider local authority housing homelessness responsibilities to UK nationals (i.e., after usage by this cohort ends)
  • Reduce pressures on the existing housing and homelessness systems and those waiting for social housing.
  • The move away from hotels will help provide more stability for families to rebuild their lives in the UK and ensure they benefit from consistency of public services, permanent settled accommodation, schooling, and employment.