SOS goes out to March landlords to rent homes to families who urgently need somewhere to live as they wait for the Sanctuary Homes estate to be finished

Meeting for Sanctuary residents at March Community Centre. Picture: Steve Williams.

Meeting for Sanctuary residents at March Community Centre. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

A plea has been sent to private landlords to let their properties for six months to desperate families who need somewhere to live.

Simon Clark, Operations Director for Sanctuary at a meeting for Sanctuary residents at March Communi

Simon Clark, Operations Director for Sanctuary at a meeting for Sanctuary residents at March Community Centre. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Around 15 families in March are in urgent need because Sanctuary Housing has not finished an estate in Gaul Road by the promised deadline of the beginning of this year.

Many are living with relatives in box rooms or sleeping on sofas at friends’ houses after giving up tenancies in other properties in preparation to move in January.

Sanctuary has promised the 52 homes will be ready by March 2016.

Tina Thompson is leading a residents action group on behalf of her daughter, who is living in a box room at her home with her boyfriend and two young children.


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She said: “Families are at breaking point. Please any private landlords out there, please consider letting your homes on a short term, six month agreement for those families in most need.

“We have already waited nine months, the though of living in cramped conditions for another six months is very difficult for people who are already under an incredible amount of stress,” she said.

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Councillor Jan French said she spoke to Sanctuary group director Simon Clarke and in a 40 minute telephone conversation was told that Sanctuary are working flat out to find temporary accommodation for those in the most need.

“They have contacted Haart estate agents at the Peterborough head office and are also putting out a plea to private landlords to consider short term leases.

“They are now bending over backwards to do all they can to help these poor families.”

Residents were told in a meeting at the FE Centre in Station Road this month that their homes were being held up because the site needed two access roads and footpaths over an existing ditch.

Tracey Spencer, Sanctuary’s operations manager, said they were working hard to find accommodation and had approached the main estate agents and landlords in March, including Haart in August and Optima in September.

“Unfortunately some of the landlords have restrictions. Some are unwilling to allow us to rent the property and then sublet it to the family, others won’t consider anything less than a 12 month tenancy instead of the six months our residents require, and in some instances children aren’t allowed in the household.

“Of the eight families who have asked for temporary housing, three have homes identified, including one family we have rehoused in a property in Chatteris which we decorated and carpeted ready for them to move straight into, another has a private let direct with the landlord and we provided financial support towards their deposit and credit reference fees.

“A further resident is considering a home in Ely. The latest property we have as a possibility is in Wisbech, and we have requested a viewing of another property in March this week.”

“There may be other housing providers we aren’t aware of and we support Tina Thompson’s appeal for any landlord in March and the surrounding area with potential suitable accommodation to come forward.”

Landlords who can help should call Sanctuary on 01353 652649 or email contactus@sanctuary-housing.co.uk.

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