Wednesday, 18 December 2013

B&B Bill Plummets Following Temporary Accommodation Push

A strategy to provide better quality temporary accommodation for vulnerable people who find themselves without a roof over their head has seen a council’s B&B bill plummet.

Along with a range of initiatives to keep people in their homes, South Cambridgeshire District Council has purchased ten former empty homes in the district to increase the amount of temporary accommodation available.

The housing strategy agreed earlier this year aimed to half last year’s £8,000 monthly bill the Council had to pay housing people in B&Bs on a temporary basis while permanent accommodation could be found – but efforts this year has seen the bill fall by 70% to an average of just under £2,400.

Since September the Council has only used B&Bs on two occasions which has pleased housing bosses, but they have reiterated that finding better alternatives remains a priority to provide people with the best service and keep the bill as low as possible.

The Council has invested in helping prevent homelessness, which has also contributed to the reduction in the use of B&Bs, as well as offering assistance accessing the private rented sector and a money advice service.

Building work has also just begun on redeveloping a former hostel in Waterbeach to improve temporary accommodation facilities along with the first new Council homes as part of the biggest building programme since the 1950s being completed in Linton.

Cllr Mark Howell, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “It is excellent news that we have seen such a huge drop in the amount we spend on B&Bs for temporary accommodation and credit must go to our officers who have been
working very hard to achieve this. As much as it is important that we reduce the spend on B&Bs, the more pleasing element is that we are able to provide people with more appropriate and higher quality temporary accommodation.

“We won’t rest on our laurels and further work such as the hostel redevelopment at Waterbeach will make sure we can continue to lead the way in this area.”