Members of Hertsmere council announced a new scheme to refurbish empty properties and use them to house homeless people in the borough.

The pilot scheme was passed at a meeting of the council Executive this evening and will initially see two houses refurbished by the council.

The new scheme is one of the ways the council hopes to reduce the council’s reliance on placing homeless people in bed and breakfast accommodation.

Over the last year up to December 31 2011 the cost of providing bed and breakfast has cost the council £125,068.

This first stage of the refurbishment scheme will cost £100,000 from a grant the council received from the Regional Housing Board for East of England.

The two houses are estimated to be completed and ready to move into in six months time.