Hundreds of homeless people and families in Cornwall could be offered a spare room to rent, under a new scheme which is soon to launch.
Cornwall Council is partnering with charities and voluntary organisations, such as DISC Newquay, to encourage homeowners and landlords to offer spare rooms to rent.
DISC Newquay estimates around 1,000 people are living without a secure roof over their head in Cornwall.
Kay Greenwood has lived in her home in St Eval for six years. But since her daughter moved out, she is struggling to pay the rent.
Even though this scheme is still in the planning stage, Kay would like a lodger so the two of them can share the bills. She said: "People are getting trapped. They can't afford to stay where they are but they can't afford to move either.
"So, if Cornwall Council can step in and help people, people like me who have the space and have the need for a little bit of extra support with their rent payments, then great."
DISC Newquay supports vulnerable people in the town and surrounding area – not only with meals but also with emergency gas, electric top-ups and housing needs.
Since the start of the pandemic, the volunteers have prepared and delivered 250,000 meals to people in need.
The charity's manager, Monique Collins, says locals are "getting desperate" and she has seen first-hand how many individuals and families need somewhere permanent to live.
She added: "The majority of people we are seeing who are now homeless are people who are working, with normal jobs. It's affecting everybody.
"It pains me to say, but it's now locals who need to help other locals – so that we can survive, and so people can actually stay in their hometown and not have to move."
Cornwall Council says it understands the urgency of the situation but the scheme can only launch once all the right safeguards are in place before housemates can be matched.
Councillor Olly Monk, Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning, said: "We do see desperate situations and anything that can work towards providing extra accommodation, we welcome.
"We are working at haste to make sure this scheme is implemented as quickly as possible."
In a statement, Cornwall Council said it has put in place several initiatives to help those who find themselves without a settled home.
It said this includes:
Developing our own temporary accommodation, like the cabins in Truro and Camborne and modular homes currently being built at Carn Brea, near Pool.
Creating the new 'Somewhere Safe to Stay' hub.
Acquiring a private rented accommodation portfolio.
We have also bid for, and been awarded, funding under the Rough Sleeper Initiative.
The council is working with a number of partners, charities and voluntary organisations on a number of schemes to help solve the current housing crisis.
Through this new scheme, the council and charities, like DISC Newquay, will identify and contact those who have accommodation and who might not have previously considered letting it out.
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