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London council admits it could be 'pushed down B&B route for homeless'

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London council admits it could be 'pushed down B&B route for homeless'


Published by 24publishing for in Housing and also in Communities, Local Government

London council admits it could be 'pushed down B&B route for homeless' London council admits it could be 'pushed down B&B route for homeless'

The head of housing needs at Harrow Council admits that the cocktail of welfare cuts and the challenging economic climate could push it and other London councils back to using more temporary accommodation for the homeless, including bed and breakfasts.

Proposals in the Localism Bill, currently going through the House of Lords will give councils the power to house the homeless in the private rented sector.

The Government says this will free up social homes and reduce the cost of councils having to use "expensive temporary accommodation".

However, in a debate on homelessness reform in 24housing magazine, Harrow Council's Jon Dalton said its concern was a more general rise in homelessness as a result of the recession and welfare benefit cuts. 

He said there would also be greater competition for private sector housing as households are displaced from expensive central London housing.

Mr Dalton said: "We are going to find it increasingly difficult to find satisfactory and local private rented accommodation for households who need it.  This looks likely to push us (and most London councils) back to using more temporary accommodation, some of which is less suitable (bed & breakfast and hostels) and all of which is expensive.

"If the private rented sector does not recover in London, the power offered to discharge responsibility in this sector by the Localism Bill will not be taken up."

Harrow Council has the lowest rate of homeless acceptances in London. To achieve this, it is already working closely with the private rented sector to find housing solutions for households facing homelessness.

Mr Dalton said: "Our experience is that when tenants take their responsibilities seriously and have proper support from the council, there is very little repeat homelessness. We offer this support through our tenancy sustainment services that help resolve any problems between landlord and tenant. We also offer tenants long term assistance to ensure benefits are claimed and rent paid."

You can read the whole debate in this month's 24housing magazine


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