Since the start of 2016 over 18,000 people have been placed in bed and breakfast hotels as a means of temporary accommodation in England. With more than a third staying at these hotels for more than 6 weeks.
Councils in Gloucestershire have spent more than £100,000 of public money putting up homeless people in hotels since January 2016.
Gloucester City Council have spent £69,000 on housing people in hotels and Cheltenham Borough Council have a budget of £60,000 in place to provide this temporary accommodation.
Cheltenham Borough Council’s cabinet member for housing Councillor Peter Jefferies spoke about the main reasons why the council spends so much on temporary accommodation: “Homelessness has doubled over the past 4-6 years. You can’t have that demand rise without the ability to meet the demand recognised by central government. We recognise it locally, but there’s only so much we can do.”
Jefferies expects an increase in the amount the council spends on temporary accommodation due to a new government legislation that is set to take effect in April next year. The housing reduction act will now mean that everyone will get the same priority status, one he labels as a sensible idea.
The councillor adds: “Prevention of homelessness is a key issue for us because then that obviously stops people having to access temporary accommodation and bed and breakfasts.
Unfortunately we have no option but to have an over reliance on the private sector which as we know is extortionately expensive in some areas. It’s a very tricky situation.”
The National Audit Office have found that homelessness costs the public sector more than £1 billion a year.
With the number of people classed as homeless rising every year, the government have now announced they are committed to halving the number of rough sleepers by 2022 and eliminating the amount by 2027.