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Homeless being placed into B&Bs 'to get worse', charity warns

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Homeless being placed into B&Bs 'to get worse', charity warns

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Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Local Government

Homeless being placed into B&Bs 'to get worse', charity warns Homeless being placed into B&Bs 'to get worse', charity warns

Councils placing homeless households into bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodation is likely to increase because of the pressure on the private rented sector and the lack of social housing, a charity has warned.

The warning comes on the back of official homelessness statistics released yesterday which showed that households put into B&B hotels has risen from 2,210 to 3,170 in 2011 - an increase of 37%.

London alone accounts for just over half of all households in B&B accommodation, and this number has increased since the same quarter last year from 1,090 to 1,680 households – a 64% increase.

Duncan Shrubsole, Director of Policy at Crisis, said the increase was down to two reasons.

He said: "It is happening for two reasons: 1. being a general lack of social housing being available for people to move into from temporary accommodation and 2. councils' ability to lease private rented sector (PRS) accommodation."

He said councils' ability to lease private sector accommodation wasn't going to get any better in the short to medium term because of the pressures on the PRS.

He said: "There's no way that's going to get any better because of the pressure the PRS is under. It's taking up the slack from people who can't afford to buy or can't get social housing."

He added: "If you've got a family who have nowhere to go they're going to have to put them in a B&B - it's better than the streets."

The statistics, gathered by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) from local authorities across the country up to the end of 2011, show that 107,060 people approached their local council as homeless, a 10% rise on 2010, and the second full year of rising homelessness across the country.

Of these, 48,510 households were accepted as owed the main homelessness duty – a 14% increase on 2010. The last quarter of 2011 saw an 18% increase on the previous.

Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis, said: “Our worst fears are coming to pass. We face a perfect storm of economic downturn, rising joblessness and soaring demand for limited affordable housing combined with government policy to cut housing benefit plus local cuts to homelessness services.

“The results are clear: we have now had two years of rising homelessness, and with the worst of the cuts still to bite we can only predict that homelessness will continue to rise. Worse still, these figures are just the tip of the iceberg. Many thousands more people will not be recorded, instead being hidden away from help on the street, sofa surfing and in overcrowded and unsuitable accommodation.”

“The Government must learn from these figures and ensure that the services, help and affordable housing homeless people need are available in every area. We must also do more to stop people becoming homeless in the first place, including by changing the law so all get the help they need from their local council, and reforming the private rented sector. In fact the Government itself is adding to the problem through its cuts to housing benefit up and down the country.”

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