£10m help for the homeless


Up to 50 homes are set to be bought by Peterborough City Council to provide temporary accommodation for homeless families.

The authority has set aside £10 million to purchase the city properties on the open market.

The homes are expected to have all been bought by March 2019 and will provide a welcome boost for the council which has struggled with a homelessness crisis since April 2016.

The sharp rise in households needing assistance was put down to welfare reforms and a greater tax burden on landlords. It led to the council sending families to stay in Travelodges in places such as Sheffield and Leicester, with some even being offered a place to sleep in Manchester.

A council spokesman said the new homes will help “significantly reduce our reliance on Travelodges for temporary accommodation”.

He added: “We’re particularly interested in two/three bed properties and some four bed units in areas close to schools as many people in need of temporary accommodation are families with children.

“We are aiming to complete all of the purchases by February/March 2019.”

The spokesman said the homes will be spread “around the city” but would not give specific areas as some of the deals are still in progress.

Money for the purchases was agreed by councillors back in July during the budget-setting process.

A report outlining the decision to buy the properties also indicates that the council is buying a small number of residential properties which are part of the proposed North Westgate development, north of Queensgate shopping centre.

The report states: “If these properties are vacant they will be used for temporary accommodation purposes, and if expenditure is required to bring them up to a suitable standard an assessment will be made to ensure any expenditure is recoverable from the savings made by removing households from bed and breakfast accommodation.”