Council turning the tide in battle against homelessness in East Cambs

PUBLISHED: 09:03 16 November 2013 | UPDATED: 09:03 16 November 2013

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A crack team brought in to save East Cambridgeshire taxpayers from the spiralling cost of homelessness is beginning to turn the tide, the district council announced this week.

The team, which was brought in last year by East Cambridgeshire District Council in order to reduce the amount of money spent on temporary accommodation, have focused on getting to those in danger of becoming homeless before the worst happens.

That has involved developing better working relationships with local letting agencies and opening a new hostel in Littleport.

According to the council, over the last three months, these measures have seen the number of households placed in bed and breakfasts reduced to zero and has prevented 51 households from becoming homeless.

These savings have meant the department has been able to hand back more than £150,000 back into the council’s budget to be used elsewhere in the authority.

According to figures obtained by the Ely Standard, about £20,000 was spent in July, £13,000 in August and more than £22,000 in September on keeping families in bed and breakfast accommodation in and around Ely.

In the council’s latest figures for October, however, there were no transactions in excess of £500 spent on bed and breakfasts or homelessness.

In this financial year, the authority had budgeted to spend almost £260,000 on homelessness, compared to the £400,000 that was spent in 2012/13, when the crisis hit its peak.

Cllr James Palmer, leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “It has been fantastic to see the turn around in the service which we are able to provide to our residents threatened with homelessness.

“By changing our approach, we have dealt with the short term problems which saw thousands of pounds being spent on temporary accommodation and now can focus on the more long term strategic issues facing East Cambridgeshire.

“This would not have been possible without the fantastic effort from the team who are led by Jo Brooks and Karen Freya who joined the council earlier this year.”

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