Two Sutton care homes closed last year could be reopened to help the homeless
Two former care homes could be refurbished in order to house the homeless under new council proposals.
The site of the former specialist dementia care home Oakleigh, which closed last year despite pleas from residents and community organisations, could be turned into 45 self contained homes to act as emergency accomodation for homeless households.
At Monday's council meeting, councillors will discuss the plans only a year after they voted to close the top-performing specialist care home for people with dementia. The purpose built care home was the last under council control and was the borough's only three-star care home but it was closed to save money.
It housed 30 people and 5 respite beds and also contained a day centre. The building was refurbished in 2007-8 in order to make it last 10 more years, but was closed in September 2011 due to "severe limitations in terms of room sizes".
But now, the council is looking at getting a development partner to "refurbish, manage and maintain" the building for the homeless for the next ten years.
According to council documents, the council has a duty to "provide accommodation to families who present themselves as homeless."
Documents also state there "have been a recent upward trend in homeless acceptances in Sutton."
The other former care home which could be converted is the site of Ludlow Lodge in Wallington which closed in May last year leaving 34 members for staff facing redundancy and 60 elderly residents without a care home.
At the moment, the council provides emergency bed and breakfast accommodation for homeless families.
According to the documents, in 2011-12, "the council assisted 273 household with emergency accommodation in shared bed and breakfast and self contained annexes".
Councillor Jayne McCoy, chairwoman of Sutton's housing, economy and business committee, said: "We are responding to the needs of the huge number of families made homeless by national changes to the welfare system and we are doing it in a way that benefits those families and the borough.
"Converting this building would bring it back into use, allow families to stay near their jobs, schools and existing social networks and help the borough reduce the amount it spends on emergency accommodation.
"In these tough economic times we have a duty to ensure our decisions not only meet the needs of those they immediately affect but also the whole of the borough’s community."