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Peterborough City Council to tackle homelessness with its own housing company

Peterborough City Council to ask for cabinet approval to set up their own Housing Revenue Account (HRA), enabling the council to provide hundreds of new homes over the coming decades to help solve the city's homelessness crisis.

The council has reported a 56% increase in households declaring themselves as homeless only the past year alone. It’s a problem felt country-wide but with Peterborough’s position as the fifth-fastest growing city in England it’s seeming more and more desperate.

Cabinet members at a meeting on Monday 23 September will have the chance to hear how the council's homeless strategy is working.

The number of families in B&B accommodation has been reduced down from 146 in September 2018 to 73 this month.

Despite the 56% rise in homeless applications, the number of families living in temporary accommodation has been kept steady at approximately 385 a month.

This has been achieved by working with 2,312 families at risk of homelessness - with the aim of keeping them in their own homes, by buying 51 homes on the open market and by working with landlords to secure an additional 48 homes.

Presented with these figures, the cabinet will also be told that they have an opportunity to provide even more temporary accommodation and to make homes more affordable for low income city residents by setting up an in-house HRA.

The Government has this year relaxed the laws on HRAs and is now giving councils more opportunities to build up their own housing stock in a bid to solve the national homeless crisis. 

If the council decided to launch its own HRA, it would be able to accelerate the growth of affordable homes in the city - for use as both temporary and long-term accommodation - by providing hundreds of new attainable homes over the coming decades, making a significant contribution to meeting the needs of the city's growing population. 

The HRA would be managed by the council and would complement the new homes already being built for residents by the council's long-term partner, Cross Keys Homes, and other social housing providers.

Councillor Steve Allen, cabinet member for housing, culture and recreation, said:

"Our current homelessness strategy of prevention, coupled with building, buying and working with landlords is working. However, we know we will never turn the tide on homelessness unless we significantly increase the amount of affordable accommodation in Peterborough.

“By launching an HRA we would be able to meet the demands of our growing population and would ensure everyone in this city has a front door they can call their own.”


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