‘Wave’ of rental evictions expected in Peterborough; BAME inequality to be investigated; litter picking partnership to be set up
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the rental sector in Peterborough is expected to be felt in the coming months.
The city council is expecting a “wave” of evictions now that restrictions have been eased, with a second batch of Section 21 notices handed out once the furlough scheme ends at the end of September.
The start of June saw the Government allow landlords to reduce the timeframe for seeking possession of properties to four months, with the process also simplified.
“As a consequence we expect to see an increase in the number of households presenting to us at risk of losing their rented home over the coming weeks and months,” the council said.
“After the initial wave of clients affected by this change, we are forecasting that there is likely to be a second wave of notices served as the furlough scheme comes to an end and households who were hoping to return to work may be made redundant.
“This is likely to be followed by a wave of evictions from households who are homeowners and for whom being made redundant means that they’re no longer able to meet their mortgage repayments.”
The housing needs service is prepared for the “potential surge in demand”, with support including early intervention, grants and mediation.
The prediction is included in a new report on the Think Communities approach - the bringing together of multiple agencies and partners which was accelerated during the pandemic.
To support the work, the Think Communities team has recently recruited 10 community engagement workers from ‘harder-to-reach communities’ across the city, funded using government grants.
Although the workers’ primary function is to encourage take-up of Covid-19 vaccinations, they will also aim to “connect with key groups and understand the issues they face in accessing health, wellbeing and other services”.
This in turn will lead to new services being developed with the aim of “breaking down barriers to inequality”.
In addition, a new equalities strategy and action plan will investigate issues including “whether there is any systemic inequality for BAME communities which may affect health, wellbeing or social mobility”.
Meanwhile, the report highlights plans to improve residents’ mental health through a long term approach to “bring communities together” and “change the way people think and feel about their area”.
It adds: “Officers from across different council services are meeting throughout the next few weeks to review and reset our approach to many of the issues faced by communities such as fly-tipping, littering, grafitti and anti-social behaviour.”
One piece of work currently underway is to establish a “litter picking partnership to tidy up areas and promote community-based efforts to keep our streets and parks clean”.
The partnership will aim to “link community groups together, promote their excellent work, recruit volunteers, collate a timetable of litter picks, educate people about the impact of litter and to also have a voice in the litter strategy for Peterborough”.