New ways of helping the homeless in Peterborough

Cllr John Holdich
Cllr John Holdich
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This spring we announced we would be offering private landlords and empty home owners hassle-free rent by housing homeless families, writes cllr John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council.

I’m pleased to say the scheme has been a massive success, with over 30 families now housed in this way across the city.

By acting as a guarantor for home owners, the council has been able to quickly increase its temporary accommodation stock and reduce costs spent on B&B style accommodation.

Home owners get the security that comes from having the council acting as a letting agency and the knowledge they are helping Peterborough families who have fallen on hard times. Homeless families get far greater security, privacy and space, allowing them to stay in the city, instead of potentially being moved elsewhere.

Plus, the council and its taxpayers also spend far less.

For every family housed in this way, the council saves a significant amount each month, plus the extra council tax generated if the home was empty beforehand.

We are now looking to extend the scheme further, so if you’re a private landlord or empty home owner, please get in touch by contacting us on 01733 452544, or visiting www.peterborough.gov.uk/empty-homes to find out more.

You may have seen the new Safer Off The Streets contactless card reader by the Argo Lounge in St Peter’s Arcade.

This is another really innovative scheme which allows local residents to make a big difference to the lives of our more vulnerable residents.

Each tap with a contactless card allows you to donate £3 to help the partnership provide food, accommodation and support for rough sleepers, supporting them in getting off the streets for good. Find out more about the campaign here www.saferoffthestreets.co.uk

There’s so much good work happening in our city that sometimes it’s difficult to give everything the publicity it deserves. That’s why the city council launched the Peterborough Civic Awards three years ago, to recognise individuals, groups, organisations and businesses that go the extra mile. Previous winners include Brian Pearce MBE from Railworld and the Peterborough Telegraph’s very own David Lowndes. The deadline for nominations is 30 October. Forms are available on our website or our Town Hall reception, please take the time to show the shining stars in your community that you appreciate their hard work.

On Tuesday I visited HMP Peterborough as part of National Prisons Week, a week of prayer for all those affected by prisons, including victims of crime, prisoners and their families. I would like to thank all staff who showed me around the prison. I was impressed with both the facility and the care shown to prisoners.

Finally, in what is fast becoming my event round-up, I want to spend some time celebrating the entertainment and culture that our city has to offer.

In the past week we’ve seen thousands travel to our city to take part in the Perkins Great Eastern Run and to visit the Museum of the Moon and Tim Peake’s space station at Peterborough Cathedral. I’d like to thank Vivacity, the Cathedral and all the volunteers that helped to make these events so successful.

This weekend we have Oktoberfest on the Embankment. At the time of writing, tickets were still available. The event was packed last year, so if you like traditional German beer, food, foot stomping, table bashing and loud singing, book quickly.