The councillor responsible for housing in Cornwall says that the authority needs to have at least 1,000 homes available to provide temporary accommodation for people who find themselves homeless.

Cornwall Council is currently having to provide temporary accommodation for more than 700 households – a figure which has risen from a level of around 250 before the Covid-19 pandemic. However the council only has between 350 and 400 units currently available.

At a meeting of the economic growth and development overview and scrutiny committee this week councillors heard that the council is currently having to place people in Travelodges and Premier Inns which is costing considerable amounts of money.

Phil Mason, strategic director for sustainable growth and development, said that he would like the council to have a supply of between 700 and 800 temporary accommodation units but admitted that Olly Monk, Cabinet member for housing wanted at least 1,000.

Mr Mason said: “We don’t have enough capacity in suitable accommodation for people who need housing. We are running out and have run out of accommodation as we head into summer. We are doing all we can to address that and we need to do more.”

The director added that placing people in hotels and B&B accommodation “costs an awful lot of money” and also warned that the council was unable to recover that cost through housing benefit payments. However, if the council had its own accommodation to place people in then it can recover the cost.

READ NEXT:

Dark Pony cafe wants to have tables and chairs outside - here's what happened

Mr Mason warned that the council had overspent by £5million last year and that it was expected to be higher again this year. He also said that the council was looking to do more to prevent homelessness and try and help people stay in their homes.

The council has already started providing more modular housing such as the Bunkabins which were placed at several council-owned sites. But councillors have been told that they need to do more.

Cllr Monk said: “There is a target for more temporary, emergency and modular accommodation. It is that accommodation that we are really striving to improve. We have 1,500 in temporary emergency accommodation right now.

“That will only improve when we can provide accommodation. I want that figure up to over 1,000 to ensure that everyone who needs temporary accommodation is in council owned accommodation.”