Those at risk of becoming homeless will get safer, long-term housing for less thanks to a cross-council initiative.

Redbridge Council has joined the Capital Letters scheme, which allows the authority to get better deals on temporary accommodation for its vulnerable families.

The programme aims to end the current competition between London boroughs and give access to a wider choice of properties at lower cost, avoiding the need to use expensive bed and breakfast hotels, hostels and nightly lettings.

The Government has pumped £38 million into the scheme, which it is hoped will give safer, longer-term accommodation options for those who need it.

Due to begin in April 2019, the scheme could save Redbridge Council up to £270,000 in just one year.

The decision to join the programme was approved by the authority’s cabinet in December.

Cllr Farah Hussain, cabinet member for housing and homelessness said: “We are absolutely committed to helping those vulnerable residents at the risk of becoming homeless.

“Joining this innovative scheme shows we are being bold in our efforts to secure good quality, long-term accommodation for families in need.

“Working closely with other London boroughs in this way also means we will be able to provide additional safe accommodation at reduced cost, so freeing up money to invest in other vital services for the homeless.”

Cllr Jas Athwal, leader of Redbridge Council, said: “All our minds have been focused on the homeless and the vulnerable, especially in the last few months and the lead up to Christmas and we have all been pulling in the same direction.

“We are trawling hard and looking far and wide to find any kind of thing that we can do, every little helps.

“As long as everyone keeps pulling in the same direction, thinking outside the box and looking far and wide we can do everything we can to help.”

“As soon as I hear about these things I jump on them, I think what are we waiting for.”