Homes purchased to provide shelter for the city's homeless will save councils "thousands", according to those behind the initiative.

A combined eight properties have been purchased by Broadland District (seven) and South Norfolk councils (one) - a scheme that will put an end to the authorities paying "an obscene amount" for bed and breakfasts to house rough sleepers.

The dwellings, which are all off Dereham Road, will provide secure accommodation for those at risk of homelessness, while also freeing up council resources to address the ongoing housing crisis. 

Norwich Evening News: Natasha Harpley, Broadland portfolio holder for communities & housingNatasha Harpley, Broadland portfolio holder for communities & housing (Image: Natasha Harpley)

READ MORE: Joy as 'lifeline' city bus route partially reinstated

"It makes financial sense," said Natasha Harpley, Broadland portfolio holder for communities and housing.

"This will allow us to have a close look at tackling the housing register and the issue of homelessness.

"And this is hopefully just the start."

The move comes as local homeless charities warn Norwich could see a rise in rough sleepers as a result of budget cuts.

Despite the city seemingly bucking the national trend of worsening homelessness, Dr Jan Sheldon, chief executive of St Martins, told the Evening News in March that continuing financial pressures could have a "catastrophic impact" on the issue.

Councillor Martin Booth, who represents Sprowston at Broadland District Council, told a recent town council meeting that the latest initiative would start to address the "major problem of homelessness in Broadland".

READ MORE: Former city centre takeaway could become two-bed home

Norwich Evening News: The scheme will help to house those at risk of homelessness and allow authorities to focus on tackling the housing crisisThe scheme will help to house those at risk of homelessness and allow authorities to focus on tackling the housing crisis (Image: Newsquest)

READ MORE: Plans submitted for three new homes at historic city site

"The amount of money we have been spending for bed and breakfasts in the area has been obscene," Cllr Harpley told this newspaper.

"We just couldn't keep spending like this.

"I would have obviously preferred the homes to be in Broadland, but it is very difficult to find suitable properties.

"I'm very happy to have authorised this scheme and I hope that it is the first of many to help tackle homelessness in our area."