A MUM has put forward and impassioned speech to council bosses advocating for families and people who face eviction from the homes they rent from a company owned by Reading Borough Council (RBC).

‘Homes for Reading’ was set up by the council in 2016 to buy homes and act as a rental landlord.

The company purchased 101 homes in the town, activity which halted in 2019. But now the council’s Labour administration is seeking to absorb the homes into its housing stock.

To be able to do that, the council has to take ‘vacant possession’ of the properties, meaning that 101 households and around 400 people are at risk of being moved on.

The prospect of evictions has led to an outcry, with 1,121 people signing a Change.org calling the planned evictions ‘unfair and unjust’.

READ MORE: Fears over evictions due to possible 'winding up' of Reading council owned housing company

The petition has now been officially submitted to the council.

The mum, who spoke at a RBC policy committee meeting on April 22, said:  “It is vital that we address the lack of suitable accommodation and the cost of private rentals and the broken promises that we have been left with and a state of distress.

“The council’s shortage of affordable available housing options and the soaring prices of rentals have created an unbearable burden for many families already, and we are deeply routed in our homes, jobs, schools communities, and health teams, making any disruption to our living arrangements not only financially bad but emotionally devastating as well. 

“Our children’s wellbeing, education and sense of stability are also at stake here.”

The mum explained that some tenants have already moved out as a result of the instability.

She  added that families would be lumbered with the financial burden of moving out, and that tenants were promised stability when they moved into the homes.

She said: “The promise that we could stay in our homes as long as we want or needed has now been shattered.”

READ MORE: Couple's plea as family faces eviction due to upcoming Homes for Reading decision

The council’s Labour administration has argued that the best course of action is to wind up the company as Homes for Reading was funded through loans from the council, which it is unable to pay back.

Ellie Emberson (Labour, Coley), lead councillor for housing, said: “We fully acknowledge the impact of the possible decision on current tenants – as stated above we will be working intensively with all households towards other housing options, and it is not our intention to formally evict anyone if this can be avoided.

“It is of course regrettable that the original vision for Homes for Reading, of offering long-term stable homes, is in our view no longer viable for the long term.

“We are committed to helping all tenants find suitable alternative homes if the decision to end their current tenancies is taken.”

She added that the council does not intend to formally evict anyone if that can be avoided.

The petition was started by a dad of four Raven Lee, who lives with his wife Rowan in Caversham.

Reading Chronicle: Raven Lee, the dad of four who rents a Homes for Reading house, started the petition on Change.org. Credit: Rowan Perry-LeeRaven Lee, the dad of four who rents a Homes for Reading house, started the petition on Change.org. Credit: Rowan Perry-Lee

Mr Lee was unable to attend the meeting to present the petition.

A consultation on the future of Homes for Reading closed on March 31.