B&B rates for homeless increase

A BIG rise in the cost of bed and breakfasts for homeless people in the Suffolk Coastal area has been reported.Suffolk Coastal District Council spent £222,000 on bed and breakfast accommodation in 2001/02, compared to £102,000 the previous year.

A BIG rise in the cost of bed and breakfasts for homeless people in the Suffolk Coastal area has been reported.

Suffolk Coastal District Council spent £222,000 on bed and breakfast accommodation in 2001/02, compared to £102,000 the previous year.

Since 1996/97, when the cost of the accommodation was just £2,300, there has been a year on year rise.

The dramatic increase is described in a draft Suffolk Coastal District Council Housing Strategy Statement for 2003/4 which is produced for the Government.


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The document details the council's approach to housing, and issues which will affect it, such as the increase in costs associated with housing homeless households, the difficulties it finds in providing extra social housing and changes in legislation.

In 1997/98 the cost of bed and breakfast accommodation was £7,600. The following year it had more than quadrupled at £38,700. In 1999/2000, it stood at nearly £90,000.

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However, the number of homelessness claims made has fallen. In 1998/99, 725 homelessness claims were made, and 121 accepted. In 2001/02, 418 claims were made and 140 accepted.

Meanwhile, the numbers of homelessness claims accepted has risen steadily since 1997/98 when it stood at 94, to 140 in 2001/02.

The report says the most important factor affecting homeless households to whom the council has a duty is "the significant increase in the period they have to remain in temporary accommodation before an offer of permanent housing can be made.

"This in turn has necessitated the council having to make much greater use of bed and breakfast accommodation to provide some form of temporary shelter for homeless households.

"The substantial rise in the use of bed and breakfast accommodation can be easily demonstrated by the dramatic rise in costs that have occurred since 1996," the report says.

The report outlines targets for 2003/04 for the council in dealing with homelessness. It plans to "substantially reduce" the need to use bed and breakfast accommodation to provide temporary shelter for homeless families. Through its housing association partners it plans to look for more permanent homes in the areas of greatest need and demand, as well as possibly leasing accommodation from the private sector to meet the need for homes.

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