THE government has released new figures revealing the amount spent by local councils on temporary accommodation for homeless households in England in 2022/23.

The figures reveal:

  • Councils spent £1.7 billion on temporary accommodation for homeless households between April 2022 and March 2023
  • This is a nine per cent increase in spending in just one year. It has increased by 62 per cent in the last five years.
  • One third of the total (£565 million) was spent on emergency B&Bs and hostels, which are often considered the worst accommodation for families with children to live in.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Not only is £1.7 billion spent on temporary accommodation outrageous, but it’s also illogical. We simply can’t keep throwing money at grim B&Bs and hostels instead of focusing on helping families into a home. With a general election on the horizon, no one can afford to continue to ignore a crisis of this magnitude.

“Housing benefit should cover the bottom third of local rents but the government has kept it frozen since 2020 while private rents have skyrocketed. This decision combined with the decades of failure to build enough social homes has meant that families can’t find anywhere affordable to live and as a result are forced into homelessness in cramped and unsuitable temporary accommodation, often miles away from their children’s schools and support networks.

“As an immediate solution, it’s vital the government uses the Autumn Statement to unfreeze housing benefit so it does what it’s meant to do: stop people on low incomes from becoming homeless. However, the only lasting solution to the housing emergency is to invest in genuinely affordable social homes with rents tied to local incomes.”

* Anyone who is facing homelessness can get free and expert advice from Shelter here.

* Source: Shelter