Newham spends £9.8m housing homeless in bed and breakfasts
Nearly £9.8m was spent putting people up in bed and breakfasts last year due to a shortage of good quality housing in the borough, according to the council.
Figures released by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveal that Newham council has spent approximately £30.2m on B&Bs since 2009 - the largest amount in London.
The cost of housing people in B&Bs has risen sharply in the past three years from £4.9m to £9.7m with a predicted outlay of £10.4m for 2013/14.
Residents are put into the accommodation as an emergency when they are deemed homeless.
A Newham Council spokesperson said: “Newham - along with other London councils - is under significant pressure.
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“We are doing everything we can to ensure we have good quality, affordable housing which is fairly distributed.”
By contrast, the amount spent on temporary accommodation has fallen from £60.2m to £38.7m since 2009 with a slightly projected increase to £39.2m for 2013/14.
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In Newham, around 24,000 people are waiting for a council house, the private rented sector - the largest in London at 35,000 properties - has doubled in the past decade, and home ownership is rapidly declining.
Between January 1 and March 31, 168 people from other parts of London have been housed in Newham - a consequence of changes to housing benefit and reduced temporary accommodation, a council spokesman states.
Keith Fernett, director of Anchor House, a retraining centre for homeless people in Canning Town, told the BIJ:
“What we’ve been seeing is a transfer of the inner-London homeless problem into this borough. Poor Newham gets hit.”
Newham council hope a number of new policies to create local options will tackle the growing housing crisis.
These include a bond scheme to replace traditional cash deposits to private landlords leasing to tenants for a minimum of 12 months and agreeing not to charge above certain rent levels; an altered housing allocation policy to prioritise low-paid workers, carers, and the armed forces; the country’s first private landlord licensing scheme; and Local Space, a not-for-profit landlord to provide temporary accommodation.