Councils in England spent £1.2bn on providing temporary accommodation for homeless households in 2019/20, figures have revealed.
The figures show that 87% of this money went to private landlords, letting agents or companies. This is an increase of 66% in the last five years.
Homelessness charity Shelter warned that more than a third of the money paid to private accommodation providers was spent on emergency B&Bs, even though it’s considered the least suitable for families with children to live.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: ‘It is outrageous that almost £1.2bn a year is spent on often shoddy and expensive temporary accommodation because of the lack of social homes. It’s a false economy for taxpayers’ money to be used to pay private landlords for grotty emergency B&Bs, which can be so terrible to live in that families end up deeply traumatised.
’The decades of failure to build social homes means too many people on lower incomes are stuck in unstable private rentals – increasing their chances of becoming homeless. This cycle of destitution persists when those who lose their homes turn to the council for help, because councils have so little social housing left, they can’t alleviate their homelessness for good. All they can do is pay over the odds for insecure temporary accommodation.’