The “shameful” municipal data that the Local Government Association analyzed found that an increase in the number of people who are being forced to live in bed and breakfasts and other types of temporary dwellings in England is costing the government £1.7 billion each year.
The lack of social housing is getting worse, and private rents are getting more and more expensive, which is one of the reasons authorities are now paying for 104,000 households to live in temporary accommodation. This number is higher than it has ever been in the preceding 25 years combined.
In the coming weeks, the closure of hotels that have been subsidized by the Home Office for Afghan asylum seekers is expected to make the matter worse, according to the leaders of the town hall, who have called for an emergency conference to be held the next week to tackle the still “rapidly” increasing expense, which they characterized as being “wholly unsustainable.”
Campaigners for better housing have described temporary housing as “cramped hostels and grotty B&Bs,” in which family members are required to share beds and youngsters are unable to play or complete their homework due to a lack of space.
The amount of money spent annually on rent might be used to construct almost one hundred thousand new dwellings during a period of five years. It is currently at a level that is twice as high as it was in 2015-16. The previous year, it reached £1.6 billion, and since then, it has increased by another 9%.
“The situation is dire,” said Stephen Holt, the head of Eastbourne borough council, which is holding a summit of more than one hundred councils on Tuesday. Eastbourne is located in Eastbourne, United Kingdom. Councils provide as a safety net for the most vulnerable members of society… but there is a very real possibility that this safety net will break.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which is the umbrella organization for councils, has demanded that the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, use his next autumn budget statement to increase housing benefit in order to make more private rented homes accessible to people on poverty, and to reform housing laws in order to allow councils to build more social housing. The housing benefit rise would make it possible for more people on assistance to live in private rented homes.
“Council budgets are being squeezed, and the chronic shortage of suitable housing across the country means that councils are increasingly being forced to turn to alternative options for accommodation at a significant cost,” said Darren Rodwell, the leader of London borough of Barking & Dagenham as well as the housing spokesperson of Local Government Association (LGA). Rodwell is also the LGA’s housing spokesperson. “Councils need to be given the powers and resources to build enough social homes for their residents so that they can create a more prosperous place to live, with healthier and happier communities.”
The Local Government Association (LGA) stated that asylum and resettlement programs were contributing to the situation. The increased rate and magnitude of asylum decisions, the impending closure of hotels maintained by the Home Office specifically for Afghan refugees over the next few weeks, and continuous support for homeless households in Ukraine and Afghanistan are all factors that are increasing the pressure on the ability of councils to house people who would otherwise be at risk of becoming homeless.
According to the library of the House of Commons, the number of households residing in temporary accommodation reached its previous high point in 2004, after which it began a gradual decline. This pattern began to reverse in December 2011, when the number of households living in temporary housing started to increase from one year to the next.
In the previous year, the housing charity Shelter issued a warning that short-term housing was frequently extended for longer than expected. According to the report, two-thirds of families had been residing in the ostensibly temporary home for more than a year, with that percentage increasing to four-fifths in London. There are a few households that have been there for more than ten years.
It was constructing what it called a “new kind of government-provided housing,” but one without tenant rights, precise requirements, or effective control, the report stated.
“It’s shameful that thousands of children across the country are growing up without a safe and secure place to call home,” said Polly Neate, the chief executive officer of Shelter. “Home” in this context refers to a stable living environment. “As the number of people without homes reaches new heights, the government cannot afford to ignore this situation any longer… Housing benefit should be unfrozen as soon as possible, and the government should use the fall statement for this purpose. This will allow individuals to pay their rents. Nevertheless, the only long-term answer to the housing crisis is to invest in genuinely inexpensive social dwellings with rents that are connected to the incomes of local residents.
“We are committed to reduce need for temporary accommodation by preventing homelessness before it occurs in the first place,” said a spokeswoman for the government. “That is why we are providing councils with £1 billion through the homelessness prevention grant over the course of three years.” Through the renters reform bill, which includes the elimination of ‘no fault’ evictions under Section 21, we are also working to make the private leased sector more equitable for both tenants and landlords.