Hotel in Birmingham housing 40 homeless families from Newham
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Newham Council is paying for around 40 families to live in a hotel in Birmingham in an effort to tackle a growing housing crisis.
The borough has seen the highest rise in the number of homeless families in London over the past three years.
In 2010, 72 families declared themselves homeless but this number rocketed to 381 in 2012 with a rapidly depleting stock of temporary accommodation to house them in.
The Bailey Hotel - a two and a half hour drive from Newham Town Hall - has housed 41 local families since October while the Council looks into their homelessness applications.
A Council spokesperson admitted the borough is experiencing a “housing crisis” and their resources “are under tremendous pressure” with significant numbers of households placed in Newham following housing benefit cuts.
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A report in the Birmingham Mail says support services in the city had received limited information about the families and describes the communication between the two local authorities as “non-existent”.
Steve Bedser, Birmingham’s cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing, told the newspaper: “Birmingham has received no communication from Newham about these homeless households and our immediate priority is to make sure they are properly taken care of by the system, because it rings all sorts of alarm bells.”
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But Newham says it has now updated Birmingham City Council and circumstances have left them no choice but to move the families out of the borough quickly.
A spokesperson added: “The temporary accommodation in Birmingham and other boroughs outside Newham is for residents who require housing while we investigate their homelessness application therefore we have very little time to update other local authorities once a family takes up an offer.
“The Pan London Agreement ensures that all London boroughs inform each other of any out of borough placements and it has been proposed to extend this to include local authorities outside of the capital.
“Only 1.5 per cent of our homeless residents are offered temporary accommodation outside London and so there should be minimal impact on council services of the boroughs they are briefly housed in.”
Newham Council added that it has a number of schemes in place to ensure affordable housing including not-for-profit landlord Local Space, a bond deposit scheme, compulsory private landlord licensing, and it has changed its housing policy to house those in work, carers, and members of the armed forces as a priority.