COUNCIL-OWNED housing company Seascape is being expanded to deal with continuing work to buy homes for people at risk of homelessness.

In its annual review of its companies, BCP Council’s cabinet is being asked to support the expansion of two of its subsidiaries.

Cabinet member for housing, councillor Bob Lawton, said their work was “generating significant income” for the council.

The council owns four housing companies – Bournemouth Building Maintenance and three Seascape subsidiaries.

A report, published ahead of a review of their operations by its cabinet later this month, says staffing levels are already being increased to increase their capacity.

Among them is Seascape Homes and Property (SHP) through which the council buys housing for the homeless. Since this work started in 2016, £45 million has been spent on buying 98 properties.

“The property acquisitions made by the council which are subsequently leased to SHP have slowed during the pandemic, due to lockdown restrictions,” the report says. “The programme however has since commenced.

“Further acquisitions are being financially supported by a successful allocation of grant funding to support move-on for people at risk of rough sleeping who were brought into accommodation during the pandemic.”

The council has estimated that this project saves it the equivalent of £7 million by avoiding the need to pay for housing benefit subsidies and bed and breakfast accommodation.

Property acquisition as part of the scheme is due to be “scaled-up” over the next few years.

The report recommends councillors back plans to expand this work and the appointment to new senior management positions.

Councillor Bob Lawton, the council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “Our housing companies are essential in providing valuable housing-related services to local people across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole as well generating a significant income for the council.

“It’s important that in line with the council’s transformation programme that we review our performance and adapt and grow our business accordingly so that we can continue to provide the very best services.”

The report will be considered at the June 23 cabinet meeting.