East Devon increase in homeless households ‘stuck’ in temporary accommodation

PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 July 2018

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The number of homeless households living in temporary accommodation in East Devon has increased significantly, new data shows.

A homeless charity has criticised the growing number of households being placed into B&Bs, hostels and other temporary housing, over the past five years, branding it ‘sub-standard and sometimes dangerous’.

According to newly-released numbers from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, there were 32 households in temporary accommodation in East Devon at the end of March this year - a 28% increase on the number in 2013.

However, the figures do show that all of the homeless households which had been identified as a priority case had been found some form of accommodation.

The chief executive of homelessness charity Crisis, Jon Sparkes, said: “Today’s figures are a stark reminder that there are still far too many people who are homeless and stuck in temporary accommodation or being placed in sub-standard and sometimes dangerous B&Bs.

“Every day we see first-hand the effects of long stays in these types of accommodation - people can become isolated, with little access to vital support services, in poor conditions with nowhere to wash clothes or cook.

“No one deserves to live like this. When people do lose their homes, we need to make sure they are helped quickly into safe and secure accommodation.”

Of the households in temporary accommodation in East Devon in March, the largest number, ten, were placed in local authority or housing association stock. Of the rest, eight were placed in B&Bs and eight were in accommodation classed under ‘other’, including private landlords.

In the 12 months to March 2018, 28 households in East Devon were classified as homeless and a priority need. It means the council have a responsibility to find suitable accommodation for them - though councils will often help non-priority cases as well.

From April this year, local councils have been required to implement the Homelessness Reduction Act, which is designed to ensure public services work together in a coordinated approach to tackle homelessness. Despite a government commitment to spend £72.7m on it over three years, many councils have reported their facilities for tackling homelessness being stretched by rising demand.

Martin Tett, housing spokesman for the Local Government Association, said the rise in homelessness was ‘deeply worrying’ and evidence of ‘the need for the duties that the Homelessness Reduction Act imposed on councils to be fully funded and resourced’.

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