A worried dad is preparing for his family to be turfed out their home so it can be used as temporary accommodation for homeless people.
Kash Hizol, his partner and their 27-month-old daughter are one of 74 households who are being evicted from their home in St Michael’s Gate, Parnwell.
The firm are now signing a deal with Peterborough City Council for the empty properties to be used as overnight accommodation for families without a home.
It follows a big rise in homelessness in the city, exclusively revealed by the Peterborough Telegraph, which has resulted in a shortage of hostels and B&B accommodation, forcing the council to put people up in a Travelodge.
The added cost to the council’s budget is forecast to be nearly £1.5 million in the current financial year.
Mr Hizol said: “Most of the people in here work and pay council tax and all other taxes. Some of them have been living here for 20 years. There’s a community in here.
“We are helping ourselves to be evicted because we pay our tax. It does not make sense to make us homeless to give other people a home.
“Some of the people are in tears.”
Graphic designer Mr Hizol said he was worried about his family being homeless at Christmas after being given two months’ notice to leave, with an eviction date of October 28.
However, he says he has a fixed contract until April and he is prepared to go to court to stop his family from losing their home.
He added: “I was not expecting this. We have a little baby who goes to nursery. I chose my work place because it is close to my home.
“A big chunk of people work at the Tesco distribution centre and their kids go to local schools. A lot of them do not have a car.
“We are people with lives, with stories. If we don’t fight for the cause this society will be totally unfair.”
The council has agreed a three-year lease with Stef and Philips, with a break clause at the end of the second year, for St Michael’s Gate to be used as temporary accommodation for homeless families at a cost of £966,337 per year.
However, the decision is expected to be called-in by councillors upset at the deal.
Cllr Ed Murphy, Labour and Co-operative member for Ravensthorpe, said: “It’s not the right thing to be doing at all. It’s last minute panic from the council and they should take a more thoughtful approach to preventing homelessness by looking at every empty dwelling in Peterborough and preventing evictions and homelessness while they get on with the job of building good council houses or helping others to do so.
“The council would be better acquiring properties or building properties.”
Adrian Chapman, service director for adults and communities for Peterborough City Council, said: “Like many cities across the UK, Peterborough currently has a severe shortage of properties available for temporary accommodation and an increasing number of people needing housing support.
“We regret that the current tenants of these properties will have to find somewhere else to live, but that is entirely a decision for the new owners and will happen whether or not we use the homes.
“It is a fact that if we didn’t make use of these properties, Stef and Philips Limited would rent them out to another organisation, most likely another council. It would be foolish of the council to take this approach when it has such a high need.
“Making use of these homes will mean that we have greater capacity to meet the demands of people requiring our support.”
Stef and Philips told the Peterborough Telegraph that it has no role in any evictions and that its only responsibility will be managing the properties for another firm.