Cornwall Council is setting up a new scheme where it could help to clear tenants’ rent arrears to prevent them being made homeless.

The tenancy sustainment and rescue programme is one of several schemes which the council is considering to tackle the current housing crisis.

Under the proposals the council would intervene when people are at risk of being evicted and work with landlords so that tenants can remain in their homes.

This intervention could involve mediating between tenants and landlords or providing financial help to cover any rent arrears which might be leading to eviction.

The council is looking to fund the scheme through funding from the Covid Outbreak Management Fund and with money which has been provided by the Government for homelessness provision.

Jon Lloyd-Owen, service director for housing at Cornwall Council, told a meeting of the council’s economic growth and development overview and scrutiny committee that there is around £600,000 to £700,000 available.

“It is better if we can help someone remain in their current accommodation than to have someone lose their accommodation and find themselves in temporary accommodation.”

He added: “This is about early intervention and keeping people in their current homes rather than moving them into temporary accommodation and then having to find them new homes, to help those people who are in difficulty or in jeopardy.”

Mr Lloyd-Owen explained: “We are in the process of finalising the design of the scheme and we hope to launch it in the next few weeks. We are working with Citizens Advice Cornwall, Cornwall Housing and services in the council who deal with crisis funding and discretionary payments.

“We intend to launch the scheme and market the scheme to tenants and landlords where there are difficulties with rent arrears.”

The scheme will run until the end of March and the council will then assess it and decide whether it is something to continue funding.

As well as helping those at risk of homelessness it is hoped that the scheme might also reduce the number of people requiring temporary accommodation, which has risen for the council.

The council is already trying to reduce the amount being spent on hotels and B&B accommodation by using accommodation such as the “housing pods” which have been sited at New County Hall and other modular accommodation for homeless people.

A private rented acquisition programme set up by the council is spending £39million on buying properties to provide “decent temporary accommodation” in the areas of Cornwall with most need.

Government funding is also being used to support the acquisition and conversion of one-bedroom properties which will be used as move-on accommodation for former rough sleepers and other single homeless people.