Ellie Ames 01 November 2023

DCN writes to Hunt over temporary accommodation pressures

DCN writes to Hunt over temporary accommodation pressures image
Image: SeventyFour / Shutterstock.com

Following a summit attended by 158 councils, the District Councils’ Network (DCN) has warned chancellor Jeremy Hunt about ‘unprecedented’ numbers of people turning to councils in the face of homelessness.

The letter to Mr Hunt, signed by DCN chairman Sam Chapman-Allen and Eastbourne Borough Council leader Stephen Holt, said the situation for local authorities was becoming ‘untenable’.

They said councils had no option but to increase their use of temporary accommodation, which threatened to overwhelm their budgets.

The letter says: ‘Without urgent intervention, the existence of our safety net is under threat.

‘The danger is that we have no option but to start withdrawing services which currently help so many families to avoid hitting crisis point.

‘There will also be a knock-on impact on other cherished council services, which councils could also have to scale back, and on other parts of the public sector – such as the NHS – which will be left to pick up the pieces.’

Cllr Chapman-Allen and Cllr Holt said they believed there was a way forward, and called on the Government to use the Autumn Statement to raise Local Housing Allowance rates and provide additional funding for Discretionary Housing Payments and the Homelessness Prevention Grant.

This week, City Hall told the Government it must act to avoid ‘spiralling’ homelessness this winter after new data showed rising rough sleeping across the capital.

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