Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 13°C

Search

The pigs are coming. Find out more about

Pigs Gone Wild

here.

St Edmundsbury: Council spends £215,000 on bed and breakfasts for the homeless

10:05 27 January 2014

Archant

Temporary bed and breakfast accommodation for homeless people in west Suffolk is set to cost taxpayers almost a quarter of a million pounds.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council anticipates spending £215,000 on putting people accepted as homeless into B&Bs this financial year - more than six times the council’s £35,000 outlay two years ago.

The spending comes amid growing pressure on the council’s social housing system, with reliance on B&Bs - traditionally seen as a last resort - and other temporary accommodation on the rise.

Homeless charities have called on councils to do more to prevent people ending up in B&Bs, while councillor Frank Warby thinks St Edmundsbury should spend the money on better solutions.

He said: “We’d be better off spending that on buying houses for people to live in rather than wasting it on bed and breakfasts.

“They’re only there for six weeks, and then they move on. It’s an awful waste of money.”

St Edmundsbury spent £146,000 on B&Bs last year, with local and national organisations blaming the rising numbers of homeless people on changes to the welfare system.

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request by the EADT found the number of households in temporary and either shared or bed and breakfast accommodation increased dramatically after the second half of 2012.

Anne Gower, the council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “We have a duty to find accommodation for homeless people. Bed and breakfast is the most expensive solution of the range of options that we use.

“Since last summer, we’ve managed to reduce the number of people in B&Bs from 28 to eight.”

Councils are only allowed to place homeless families or pregnant women in B&Bs for up to six weeks.

Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said: “Our welfare system must be fair, but these figures show that cuts to our housing safety net are simply a false economy, leaving more families stuck in emergency accommodation like bed and breakfasts while the cost to the public purse soars.

“The only way to bring down these costs is to protect the safety net that stops more of us spiralling down into homelessness, and to build the affordable homes we desperately need.”

Last month the EADT revealed that homelessness applications to the council had quadrupled since 2010, and that only a handful of one-bedroom houses are assigned every fortnight as around 750 people wait for such accommodation.

Mr Warby, who sits on a council panel looking at solutions for homelessness, also criticised the cost of private renting in Bury St Edmunds.

“A two-bedroom house in Etna Road is £1,200 a month,” he said at a meeting on Wednesday.

“How do they expect young people working, with the average wage in Bury, to be able to afford that? You might as well get a mortgage.

“I think we need to look at that before telling people ‘get yourself on the private housing list’.”

Liz Watts, one of two directors for the West Suffolk partnership between St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath, said the council is examining cheaper alternatives.

She said: “At the moment, if we can’t find temporary accommodation for them, we need to place them in bed and breakfast.

“Would it be a better option for somebody else, maybe a housing association or even the council, to rent a house and use it as temporary accommodation?

“That might be a better solution for the homeless, and also financially better for the council.”

0 comments

Aerial shots of Ipswich Waterfront - courtesy of www.skycameast.co.uk

A deer that was trapped underneath a wooden structure near Ipswich Waterfront tonight has been rescued.

Zena Gravener, with Patrick Last, reignites her battle with Suffolk County Council over a

A 73-year-old woman has reignited a campaign to push Suffolk County Council (SCC) into cutting back a “dangerous” grass verge near her home.

An Abellio Greater Anglia train at Colchester

A number of trains – starting with the 16.00 Colchester Town to Colchester – have been terminated or cancelled this afternoon due to a member of train crew being unavailable.

The A14 near Stowupland

A crash involving two vehicles blocked the eastbound A14 at Stowmarket earlier this afternoon.

Trail makers are needed to keep an eye on the pigs during the summer months

Friendly faces are needed to greet visitors to Ipswich this summer and ensure the interactive Pigs Gone Wild trail is a success.

Firefighters from Colchester were called to a blaze on a boat.

Two fire crews from Colchester were called to a boat moored on the quay in the town after reports of a fire on Saturday morning.

Clacton lifeboat was launched during the drama at the pier.

All four emergency services were called to a drama on Clacton Pier on Friday afternoon when someone was seen sitting on the wrong side of the fence.

The site earmarked for 175 homes in Stowupland.

The approval of 175 homes on the edge of a Suffolk village has prompted fears that planning shortfalls highlighted in the decision could leave more communities at risk from “predatory” applications.

Mark Newton has been appointed the new chairman of Suffolk Coastal District Council

A district council has appointed its new chairman.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24