Woman says she's been made 'homeless' by tourists driving locals out of Cornwall

A woman claims she will soon be ‘sleeping on a bench’ as a result of the second-homes crisis in Cornwall.

Jasmin Or, who grew up in St Ives, has combed through listings and exhausted spare room adverts.

She says tourism is ‘driving’ locals from the region.

Jasmin, 24, said: ‘I’m wondering if this place will seem as beautiful to me when I’m sleeping on a bench in three weeks.

‘There’s no homes left. Everything has been turned into second homes now and that’s the issue.

‘They’re all Air B&Bs and a lot of locals have been driven out of their homes now to accommodate for the summer.’

Jasmin pays £800 rent a month, not including bills, and her lease is up on May 10.

She has no family home to fall back on and the cost of staying in an AirBnB in any interim period would be around £150 a night – or £4,500 a month.

She added: ‘In lockdown, I’d go for a walk and look up in the evening to see only a few homes with lights on in town.

‘I could see how many actually are holiday homes.

‘I’ve watched a lot of my friends struggle with homelessness – friends in my age group who work a lot harder than I do.’

Cornwall Council paid near to £170million in Covid-19 grants to holiday let businesses in the county.

It was later estimated that more than half of the cash would have gone to people who live outside the region.

The housing problem was worsened during the pandemic when ‘staycations’ boomed.

Rent in the county is now comparable to prices in London.

A spokesperson from Cornwall Council said: ‘The council is taking a multi-faceted approach to address the housing crisis in the medium term and moving on into the future.

‘This plan will involve more than £300m of potential investment.

‘We are working to get the legislative changes we need at Parliament to be able to control the number of second homes and give us the ability to set a council tax surcharge against those homes.

‘The lack of decent affordable housing that residents are experiencing all over Cornwall has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

‘The boom in house prices and the demand for holiday accommodation is causing a significant reduction in the availability of homes to rent.

‘It matched sudden escalation in rental costs.

‘Private landlords have been moving away from long-term letting and instead moving towards the short-term holiday market.’

Last month, the debate over second homes led to graffiti protests.

One wall outside a holiday home in St Agnes was scrawled with: ‘Second home owners give something back.

‘Rent or sell your empty houses to local people at a fair price.’

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