A large supply of new housing is expected to save Peterborough City Council millions of pounds on finding temporary accommodation for homeless families.
The council has seen a 200 per cent increase in the number of homeless households needing its help over the past two years, forcing the council to use Travelodges and B&B-type accommodation to provide them with a roof over their heads.
In December, the authority predicted that the money it spends on providing temporary accommodation would have risen by £5.7 million a year by April 2021, however, that figure has been drastically reduced by 4.3 million a year in its latest 2018/19 budget proposals.
This follows approved funding for 29 new homes at Midland Road and 43 homes at Bretton Court, while the council is also proposing to lease an additional 40 homes from Ermine Street Housing, a housing company set up by East Cambridgeshire District Council.
The council's budget report adds: "Possibilities for further homes are also being developed both in the city area and by widening the search to local authority areas bordering the city."
However, a council spokeswoman said local authorities would be asked for permission before the council used homes in their area.
Last September, the Peterborough Telegraph revealed that Barnet Council had purchased 28 homes in Peterborough to use as temporary accommodation for its homeless families, prompting calls from the council’s service director for community and safety, Adrian Chapman, for a change in the law to prevent this from reoccurring.
Moreover, the council is employing four homelessness prevention officers which it says it projected to prevent four households becoming homeless each week.
The budget report states: "These officers will work with tenants and landlords to keep people in their homes through providing information, financial incentives to landlords and by finding alternative privately rented accommodation prior to households requiring temporary accommodation."
There is a lengthy interview with Mr Chapman and Sean Evans, the council's housing needs manager, in this week's Peterborough Telegraph about how they intend to bring an end to the homelessness crisis.
The council's budget seeks to make £24 million of savings following government cuts.
For more articles on the budget, visit: www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk.
To have your say on the budget, visit: www.peterborough.gov.uk/budget.
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