Housing Minister Kris Hopkins today (6 March 2013) welcomed the figures as a “step in the right direction” and urged councils to continue their strong efforts to support the most vulnerable in their communities.
In particular the minister welcomed a 42% drop over the past year in the numbers of families with children in bed and breakfast accommodation for longer than 6 weeks.
And among the 7 councils that received government funding to tackle the acute problems in their area, the number of families in this situation has been reduced by 96%.
Overall, there were 12,890 households accepted as owed a homelessness duty between October and December last year - 5% lower than the same time in 2012.
Maintaining a strong safety net against homelessness
Since 2010, the government has maintained its £470 million investment in ensuring a strong safety net to anyone facing the threat of homelessness.
On top of this, in August last year ministers announced £1.9 million for the 7 councils accounting for the highest numbers of cases of families with children in bed and breakfast accommodation for longer than 6 weeks.
Since then, these 7 councils have seen a fall in the numbers of families in this situation drop by at least 86% - and 96% overall.
But Mr Hopkins said the law was clear that no family should be housed in bed and breakfast accommodation for more than 6 weeks - and called on the handful of councils accounting for the majority of breaches of the law to up their game and take action. The government is supporting councils to do that through the Gold Standard approach to improving homelessness services.
Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said:
We’ve maintained funding of £470 million to ensure anyone facing the prospect of homelessness has the help they need. And it’s working.
Today I’m pleased to see a 5% drop in the numbers of people in that situation, and a massive 42% drop in the numbers of families in bed and breakfast accommodation for more than 6 weeks.
I want to praise councils for the efforts they have made to protect the most vulnerable in their communities, and to urge them to build on this success so we can bring the numbers of people facing homelessness down even further.
Seven councils received a share of £1.9 million in August last year to substantially reduce the number of families in bed and breakfast accommodation for more than 6 weeks. Between them they have seen a 96% fall in the number of families in that situation. They are:
- Barking and Dagenham - 91% reduction
- Birmingham - 100% reduction
- Crawley - 100% reduction
- Croydon - 100% reduction
- Hounslow - 95% reduction
- Redbridge - 86% reduction
- Westminster - 100% reduction
See details of the £1.9 million funding given to these councils.
See the Statutory homelessness statistics: Octobers to December 2013 published today.