Communities Minister Don Foster said today (1 August 2013), that the money must be used by councils to reduce the number of families unlawfully stuck in this unsuitable accommodation in their area.
He also called on councils to put new measures in place to ensure that this situation doesn’t happen again.
New housing solutions
The law is clear that families must only be placed in bed and breakfast accommodation as a last resort, and only then for no more than 6 weeks.
But recent figures have shown a huge variation in the way councils help homeless people in their area, with only 15 councils accounting for nearly 80% of all families living in bed and breakfast accommodation for more than 6 weeks.
Today’s £1.9 million funding will go to 7 of these councils, to help them raise their game and discover innovative new ways to help meet the housing needs of these most vulnerable of families.
All lessons learned from these councils will be shared across the country, ensuring that every area can find the best way to provide stable, suitable homes for local residents as soon as possible.
The councils receiving funding include:
- Birmingham council, who will receive £297,500 to run a health and financial support service to help at risk families get their lives back on track
- Crawley council who will receive £299,150 to fund a long-term private rental scheme
- Barking and Dagenham, who will use their £300,000 funding to improve their system for placing people in rented accommodation and offer money management advice to tenants in their area
Communities Minister Don Foster said:
Today’s £1.9 million funding will help to get families across the country out of bed and breakfast accommodation and into stable homes.
But this isn’t just a short term fix about cutting numbers - I want these councils to find long-term solutions to homelessness in their areas. They have a legal duty to help these families, and with this funding I expect them to ensure that no family need ever be stuck in this unsuitable accommodation for weeks on end.
Notes to editors
- The successful councils are:
- Barking and Dagenham will receive £300,000
- Croydon will receive £265,166
- Hounslow will receive £300,000
- Crawley will receive £299,150
- Birmingham will receive £297,500
- Redbridge will receive £175,000
- Westminster will receive £280,000
Half of today’s £1.9 million funding will be provided up front, with the remainder to be received upon success.
Lessons learned as part of this scheme will be disseminated as part of the Homelessness Gold Standard. See more details of the Standard on the Department for Communities and Local Government website.