The London Borough of Ealing has begun the effort to build a digital platform to support emergency help for homeless people across the city.
Named the Property Listing Platform (PLP), it will provide a listing of temporary accommodation, with details provided by landlords, to help officials place homeless households at short notice.
Ealing is leading on the project in advance of it being taken on Capital Letters, a joint initiative by several London boroughs which is currently being set up to handle lettings of affordable private rented homes.
A technical specification has been developed that includes the platform being integrated with existing systems and Ealing is now looking for a partner to work within a two-year contract on the project.
Cut competition and duplication
The main purposes will be to provide details of available properties for homeless households in real time, enable the centralised procurement of accommodation across London, eliminate competition for properties between authorities, and avoid duplication of properties being offered by different councils at the same time.
It will be used by local authorities and providers of accommodation and managed by Capital Letters once it has been set up.
The move has been prompted by the London Ventures programme – a joint effort by the city’s local authorities under the London Councils banner and consultancy EY – which has placed a focus on reducing homelessness in the capital.
Earlier this year, London Councils said in a presentation that the platform should help to reduce spending on temporary accommodation, which is inflated by competition between councils. It should also provide more options for clients.
A London Councils spokesperson said: “Capital Letters is an exciting new initiative that will see boroughs working together to improve housing options for homeless Londoners.
“The London Borough of Ealing is leading the procurement process on behalf of the participating boroughs. The platform being sought will provide a single register of accommodation and facilitate the placement of homeless households.
"It will be key to Capital Letters’ collaborative, pan-London approach, which will lead to much better outcomes for those experiencing homelessness.”