Complaints against councils for homeless accommodation

  • There has been a rise in the amount of complaints about accommodation offered to the homeless in England says the Local Government Ombudsman.

    An LGO report highlights a "worrying trend" of councils placing a growing number of homeless families into bed and breakfast accommodation. Complaints to the ombudsman have risen by 14% in two years.

    The local government association have said that councils are doing a good job "in difficult circumstances" reports the BBC. Cliff Top Hotel

    The ombudsman has said that there had been an increase in the number of homeless people in the UK which is increasing the pressure on council homelessness services.

    In 2012/13, 53,540 household were accepted as being homeless, compared with 44,160 the previous year, the report said. There were 4,500 households in bed and breakfast accommodation on March 31st compared with 2,310 on the same date in 2011.

    The government have said that the extra money had been provided to councils to ensure that they continued to operate "one of the best support networks in the world".

    Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said "Homelessness remains lower than in 27 of the last 30 years.

    "The vast majority of councils are housing families effectively, but a minority need to raise their game".

    The government said recent figures showed a large variation in the way councils help homeless people with only 15 councils accounting for nearly 80% of all families living in bed and breakfast accommodation for more than six weeks.

    The LGO have said that the use of bed and breakfast accommodation often led to families and young people living in small conditions and sharing facilities with those who may have significant problems such as substance misuse.

    Cllr Mike Jones, Chairman of the LGA's Environment and Housing Board, said:"Councils are doing a good job tackling homelessness under increasingly difficult circumstances.

    "Since 2009 the use of temporary accommodation has fallen by 11%, despite the number of people approved for homelessness assistance rising by almost a third.

    "The use of Bed and Breakfast accommodation is an option of last resort but with council housing waiting lists standing at 1.8 million, local authorities often have little choice but to use temporary accommodation.

    "The outdated control of councils' borrowing limits is contributing to this problem. This report highlights why the Government must, as a matter of urgency, lift the borrowing cap which is preventing councils from building up to an additional 60,000 new homes over the next five years."

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