Cambridge City Council accused of letting down homeless families

  • A watchdog has ruled that homeless families were let down when Cambridge City Council moved them to Peterborough.

    The authority has been found guilty of three counts of maladministration by the Local Government Ombudsman relating to separate cases which occurred during shortages of temporary accommodation in Cambridge, reports Cambridge News. -Paper Family II-

    Cllr Kevin Price, the executive councillor for housing in the newly-elected Labour administration, said he took the cases "very seriously".

    He said: "There is no doubt the council faces much pressure from the increase in people presenting as homeless over the last four years, including those evicted by private landlords, but at a time of crisis for individuals and their families we also need to need to treat them sensitively. Families should not, as in one of the cases they were, be forced to choose between being split up and the accommodation offered. And where there are clear work or school commitments in the city, we should not be sending them to Peterborough. I intend to be very clear this must not happen again and to review past practice to ensure it does not."

    Liz Bisset, the director of customer and community services, said the council had put in place actions to prevent a repeat of the 2012 cases and had further plans to address the latest ruling.

    Ms Bisset said: "We acknowledge there were some shortcomings in our working practices in these cases, and we have apologised to all the families concerned. These cases were complex. There were factors in play that were not completely within our control - particularly the lack of available affordable housing - and this contributed to the circumstances around these cases."

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