Brighton and Hove City Council spent millions of pounds housing the homeless in bed and breakfasts and hostels last year.
Figures from the Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities show that the council spent a total of £44.3m on temporary homeless shelters in the year to March, up from £32.9m a year earlier.
Private accommodation rented by local authority accounted for a significant part of spending at £25.1m – 57 per cent of total spending on temporary accommodation last year.
A further £2.6million (six per cent) went to accommodating people in bed and breakfasts in the area.
And about £1.9million (four per cent) went to hostels, including sanctuaries and emergency shelters.
Last year’s spending is also higher than the amounts spent five years ago, when £21.8million was spent on temporary housing for the area’s homeless – an 80 per cent increase in real terms.
Across England, an estimated £1.6 billion was used by local authorities to provide short-term shelter for the homeless in 2021-22 – five per cent up on the previous year and a 62 per cent increase in real terms on five years ago.
Of last year’s total spending, £407m went to bed & breakfasts and hostels. Spending on bed and breakfast alone has increased by seven percent in real terms since 2016-17.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Homelessness is bad for the economy and worse for the people whose lives it destroys.
“It defies all logic to spend over £1.6billion on dingy B&Bs and run-down flats instead of helping people keep their homes at all.
“Letting homelessness to ramp up during the cost-of-living crisis will only cost more in the long run.”
She said the housing benefit, which helps people who are unemployed, on low incomes or on other benefits to pay rent, must be scrapped so people can better pay rent, adding the government needs to “make really affordable ones.” Build public housing to end homelessness.
A spokesman for the Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities said it is making £316million available to councils this year to help prevent homelessness.
“Temporary shelters are a last resort but a vital lifeline for those at risk of sleeping poorly,” they said.
“We know people are concerned about rising costs, which is why we have announced the Energy Price Guarantee to help households with their winter energy bills, and a further £37billion in support for those struggling with the cost of living.”
Brighton and Hove City Council has been asked for an opinion.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23165784.brighton-hove-council-spent-44m-b-bs-hostels-homeless/?ref=rss Brighton and Hove Council spent £44m on B&Bs and hostels for the homeless