Funding secured to improve housing and community integration

Vulnerable residents in Thanet, who are most at risk of being exploited by private-sector landlords, will now be better protected thanks to a successful bid to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) from Thanet District Council’s Housing Team. The bid to the Controlling Migration Fund was the first in the South East to have been approved.

The £557,000 funding over two years will enhance the award winning Margate Task Force with a Rogue Landlord and Community Cohesion Team - which will proactively focus on four specific activities to help improve housing conditions for Thanet’s most vulnerable. In particular, the team will focus on those in the migrant community who often find themselves exposed to rogue landlords and poor housing conditions and who, at times, lack the knowledge about how to improve their situation.

The team is expected to significantly improve the private rented sector in Thanet whilst also helping migrant families integrate within established communities.

Cllr Lin Fairbrass, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Services at Thanet District Council, said: “Those born outside of the UK are almost three times more likely to be in the private rental sector than UK-born, leaving them exposed to rogue landlords and poor housing conditions. What’s more, they often lack the knowledge or basic language skills to improve their situation.

“We are delighted to have received funding to set up a ‘Rogue Landlord and Community Cohesion Team’ to improve housing conditions, carry out more enforcement action and inspect all HMOs and flats above shops. We will also provide additional English language support to help migrants engage effectively with the local community. I would like to thank the Thanet District Council’s Housing Team for submitting such an ambitious bid and for being the first area in the South East to be awarded funding.”

The dedicated team will strengthen the existing and hugely successful multi-agency Margate Task Force. It will cover the whole of Thanet and be based at Thanet District Council’s offices. The four areas it will focus on include:

  • Proactive door-to-door inspections of accommodation above shops and commercial premises
  • Identification and inspection of all Houses with Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Thanet, whether licensable or not
  • Increased quantity of ‘Street Week’* operations, which will focus on areas with higher levels of migration
  • Introduction of English language classes – this will build upon the Task Force’s existing strong links and respect from minority groups. The classes are designed to ease the pressure on mainstream services and help integration in the local community.

Finally, the funding will involve the creation of six additional jobs based at Thanet District Council, with support and secondment from other departments. This includes four Housing Improvement Officers, one Housing Improvement Assistant and one Litigation Solicitor.

Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid said: “Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said:

“This new funding will help councils rise to the challenge of reducing the impact of migration on local communities in a variety of ways – whether that’s tackling the small minority of rogue landlords who damage neighbourhoods with overcrowded properties, providing English language classes to ensure effective integration rather than reliance on translation services, or boosting the number of teaching assistants in schools to ensure all children get excellent teaching.”

Press Office