The council has kept its promise to reduce the number of homeless families housed outside the area, after opening a new development of 17 flats.
15 Bury Lane, Rickmansworth are now fully occupied, giving Three Rivers residents in urgent need of somewhere to live the chance to have high-quality accommodation in the local area.
The council has been using a range of properties in towns including Luton, Slough and Harlow to house local families who have become homeless through no fault of their own.
However over two years ago, council leader councillor Sara Bedford made a commitment to reduce the number housed outside the Three Rivers and Watford area, and working to end out of area placements entirely.
In building the flats, the council had to overcome legal opposition from a local developer.
Cllr Sara Bedford said: “I am delighted that these new flats have been built, offering high quality accommodation to local families needing support at difficult points in their lives.
“Sending these families over an hour’s travelling time away from families, jobs schools and the rest of their lives was never ideal, but it has taken this time to build new accommodation. To me it is a matter of decency and dignity for these families.
“We have almost halved the number of families in temporary accommodation and now have only six families living outside the area. The council will continue to work to build more temporary and permanent accommodation to ensure all local families can find somewhere to live.”
The 17 homes at 15 Bury Lane were built using innovative modular construction techniques, ensuring that the development is cost-effective and sustainable. The block features brick cladding and wooden panels to complement the appearance of the other buildings nearby in the conservation area.
New residents at 5 Bury Lane, Kayleigh-Marie said: “If I had to sum up the move, I would say it was liberating to leave Templefields (Harlow).
“Even if you tried hard it never felt like home. These flats feel like a home which is all you want in our situation. It’s hard not feeling at home anywhere. This move has made such a positive changes to our mental health.
“After the housing officer showed us the new flat, I just cried because I was so happy.”