Cambridgeshire council offers to help with Peterborough’s homelessness crisis

Exterior of the Travelodge, New Road, Peterborough EMN-160921-151459009
Exterior of the Travelodge, New Road, Peterborough EMN-160921-151459009
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A Cambridgeshire council has offered to help Peterborough tackle its homelessness crisis.

Ermine Street Housing, a profit-making housing company set up by South Cambridgeshire District Council, is in talks with Peterborough City Council over a deal which it is claimed can be a “win-win” for both parties.

A large spike in homelessness, which includes a 43 per cent increase in homelessness presentations to the city council in 2016/17, has led to escalating costs with more people put in temporary accommodation, including Travelodges.

The council recently reported that it overspent by £1.66 million in 2016/17 due to “homelessness and temporary accommodation costs.”

However, the council said on Monday (January 15) that the purchase of 29 properties in Midland Road, West Town, would mean Travelodges would no longer be needed to accommodate homeless families.

Duncan Vessey, head of operations at Ermine Street Housing, said: “This has the potential to be a win-win for South Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

We have purchased a number of properties in Peterborough that were for sale on the open market.

“Many were bought from landlords with tenants remaining in place after the sale.

“We’re talking with Peterborough City Council about how Ermine Street could support homeless households that Peterborough has a duty to accommodate.

“Peterborough is one of several areas that we’ve purchased properties in since we were set up in 2013, allowing us to offer security and comfort of long term tenancies if needed.

“Money generated by Ermine Street is ploughed straight back into council services that people rely on.”

Ermine Street has 120 properties in Peterborough, but a spokesman said only those which become vacant, or future properties which the firm buys, would be used for supporting Peterborough households.

He added that there was absolutely no chance of existing tenants being removed to allow Peterborough’s homeless to move in.

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