Up to 250 homes for people in need of temporary accommodation will be purchased by Cornwall Council following a decision by members at Tuesday’s full meeting to invest £39.3 million.
The homes will be spread throughout the Duchy so those who find themselves in need of a temporary home while they are helped to find a more permanent option, can still be near work, school and family.
Self-contained accommodation will be provided for families with children and there will be shared accommodation for single people or couples with no children.
Cornwall Council received more than 800 homeless applications during 2017, and these plans will allow a more flexible response suited to people’s needs, avoiding the use of bed and breakfast accommodation.
There are currently 267 households in temporary accommodation in Cornwall with around a third of that number in bed and breakfast or hotels because the council does not have enough temporary accommodation of its own to offer them.
Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for homes Andrew Mitchell said: “How we help those in need is a measure of the society we live in. This decision is about making sure that we help those who, for whatever reason, are in danger of no longer having a roof over their head or a place to call home.
“More and more often, we are being approached by families who find themselves in this dire situation and we have a legal as well as a moral duty to help them.
“Not only is bed and breakfast and hotel accommodation unsuitable, particularly for families, it is also very expensive.
“Providing good quality, affordable, temporary accommodation in locations where it is needed ensures people have somewhere safe to stay, provides stability and gives people a better chance to find or keep work.”
In 2017, the council received 9,967 requests for housing advice and over 800 homelessness applications.
It is envisaged that the 250 homes for temporary accommodation will be managed by Cornwall Housing Limited who are already commissioned to deliver housing options and homelessness services on behalf of the council.
Cornwall has in recent years been among the top providers in the country of new affordable homes. Last year, 3,400 new homes were built in Cornwall, and more than 900 of these were affordable housing. People wishing to rent or buy one of these affordable homes must have a connection to Cornwall and already be living here.