VITAL funds to provide temporary housing for homeless people are to be released by the borough council.

Councillors at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council agreed to release £634,000 from its Affordable Housing Reserve to help Sentinel Housing Association purchase 17 properties across the borough for use as emergency accommodation.

Sentinel Housing Association is set to invest £2.17million in the scheme which will cost £2.8m.

The joint scheme is set to save the borough £28,000 a year in the cost of placing people at risk of homelessness in bed-and-breakfast facilities in Basingstoke.

The borough council has seen a sharp rise in the number of people placed temporarily in bed-and-breakfast facilities in Basingstoke. In 2012-13, the number of households placed in temporary facilities rose to 38, and it is expected to rise again this year from 38 to 77.

Councillor Rob Golding, cabinet member for housing and regeneration, told the full council meeting: “Because it is expected to be a success, we will review the progress in September.”

When the councillor first announced plans at a cabinet meeting, he said: “In the last year or two, we have seen a shortage of affordable housing.

“This proposal would spend what is left of the affordable housing reserve to enable Sentinel Housing Association to buy 17 existing properties, and they have said recently they can buy them and get them into use very quickly.”

But Cllr Stuart Parker, Liberal Democrat borough councillor for Eastrop, hoped more could be done in the future.

He said: “I welcome this measure being taken. Let’s be certain – this is only going to be a measure. I do hope we can find other measures in place to relieve the anxiety and stress these families suffer at a time when they are rendered homeless.”