Homeless families massive increase
HOUSING officers are struggling to find accommodation for homeless families in Suffolk after a massive increase in demand.The number of households in temporary accommodation in Ipswich has risen by 66 per cent over the past two years to a current total of 193.
HOUSING officers are struggling to find accommodation for homeless families in Suffolk after a massive increase in demand.
The number of households in temporary accommodation in Ipswich has risen by 66 per cent over the past two years to a current total of 193. For the first time in nearly a decade, Ipswich Borough Council has had to resort to housing 33 households in bed and breakfast accommodation.
Families have been forced to share single rooms with no cooking facilities or storage space for their belongings.
Suffolk Coastal District Council has similarly reported a 39pc surge in the number of households in temporary accommodation, comparing current figures with the same period last year. Numbers have risen from 61 to 93 at the last count.
A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council said the situation was "serious", adding: "We are currently under a lot of pressure but we are managing. We're looking at alternatives to B&B, building close links with private sector landlords in the hope of securing more accommodation. The rising house prices haven't helped. We're trying to make sure B&Bs is a temporary measure."
He added that more accommodation would become available with the opening of 340 affordable houses on the new Ravenswood development in Ipswich.
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Councillor Jeanette Macartney, portfolio holder for housing for Ipswich Borough Council, said: "It is a problem but we have lots of irons in the fire. We've put extra money in to try to get us over this and there are various places in the town we are trying to bring back into public ownership. We're trying to provide proper housing rather than putting them in B&Bs."
A spokeswoman for Suffolk Coastal District Council, said: "This is a problem all over the country. One of the key problems is that many of our private landlords are now selling their homes because of the state of the housing market."
The report reveals that in 2001/2002 Babergh employed one homelessness officer for 260 cases while Mid Suffolk District Council employed the equivalent of 1.6 homelessness officers and had a separate housing advice service for 210 cases.
In Suffolk Coastal two homelessness officers, the equivalent of 1.5 advice officers and a supervisor dealt with 550 cases. At Ipswich there were 1,008 cases in 2001/2002 dealt with by nine full time staff and two part-time along with a supervisor.