How many households were homeless at Christmas – and thereafter?
A House of Commons briefing paper records that almost 75,000 homeless households, including 60,000 families with 120,000 children, spent Christmas in temporary accommodation this year.
That’s up 9% in a year and 45% since the 2010 election due in part to:
- more evictions by private landlords,
- rising rents,
- welfare cuts
- and a shrinking stock of social housing.
6,990 households – about half with children – are in bed and breakfast hotels, where each familv has one bedroom, with bathroom and kitchen shared by all the residents.
Though the law says families should live like this for a maximum of six weeks only before being moved, the Guardian reports that data released by the Department for Communities and Local Government reveals a rise of more than 300% since 2014 in the number of families in England who are being housed in B&Bs by local authorities, for more than the statutory maximum period because they cannot find any alternative places.
There are currently 1300 families with children who have been trapped in B&Bs for more than six weeks, an increase of 24% in the past year.
The comparable figure just before the 2010 general election was 100 families.
According to data obtained by the BBC in November, councils in Britain spent £3.5bn on temporary accommodation in the past five years.
Yet Inside Housing reports that the 2011-2015 affordable housing programme, which aims to provide permanent affordable homes in England, was allocated funding of only £1.8bn.