The District Council have increased their stock of emergency housing by purchasing 13 self-contained flats in the Hertford and Ware area.
The properties will be used to support those who find themselves homeless due to losing employment, relationship breakdown or their landlords terminating rental agreements.
Until now the council has only been able to house people close to Bishop’s Stortford. Without temporary accomodation, the council has to place homeless households in bed-and-breakfast hotels, typically outside of the district.
The new flats have good bus and rail links to make getting around Hertford, Ware and the surrounding villages easy, meaning that when families from this part of the district move in, they can keep their children in their existing schools and social support can be more easily maintained.
The cost of buying and running the flats will be covered by the rents charged while there will be a saving of more than £100,000 a year from reducing the use of bed-and-breakfast accommodation. Support officers will be based at the new block of flats, helping people identify more long-term accommodation.
Peter Boylan, executive member for housing, said: "Helping people to keep the support of their existing social networks, whether schools, their doctor’s surgery, family, friends or their workplace is so important when someone’s having to deal with homelessness. In turn, this helps people to get back on their feet and find a more settled and better future.
"The challenging economic climate and high local house prices mean that numbers of local people turning to the council in an emergency are increasing. Providing good quality temporary accommodation within the district for the four to five months it takes the council to arrange longer term accommodation is a vital way the council can help local residents at a time of stress.
"We’re delighted that we’re able to offer this accommodation on the Hertford and Ware side of our district now."
The council has also received £421,000 of government funding for six flats which will serve as temporary accommodation for local people who have been sleeping rough. The funding will also enable the council to recruit a specialist who will help former rough sleepers find their way back into society.
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