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UK homeless families living in emergency B&Bs accommodation hit new high

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Homelessness crisis on the rise in the UK.

New official figures show the number of families living in emergency accommodations in England has reached a record high.

According to the data released by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), there were a total 3,000 households in B&Bs or bed and breakfast-style of accommodations, meaning a 45% rise in the 12 months to the end of September.

The figure is the highest in the last 12 years suggesting that Britain is still struggling to find suitable accommodation for homeless people. DCLG has blamed the rise in B&Bs households on the end of the private tenancy in the country.  

Families placed in B&Bs when unable to find social or private rented housing

The data shows that families seeking help from local councils were about 11% of those living in rented homes in 2009-10. The number of such households increased to about three-fold to 31% between June and September this year.

A B&B family is one unable to find social or private rented housing and local councils accommodate it in a single room, with kitchens and bathrooms shared with other tenants. Hostels and refuges, supported lodgings and self-contained annexes are other temporary housing with minimum facilities such as a shower, a gas stove or electric hob, and a fridge.

DCLG figures showed there were 68,560 households with temporary accommodation. In the capital, the number of households in temporary accommodation as at 30 September 2015 was 50,490. Across England, 2,600 foreign national applicants were accepted as homeless.

Many evicted families have not option but to keep their belongings on streets.  

Campbell Rob, chief executive of the housing charity Shelter has decribed the figures as "heart-breaking". This is reminder that thousands of families will wake up homeless this Christmas morning – many hidden away in a cramped and dingy B&B or hostel room".

“With the double blow of cuts to welfare and a chronic lack of affordable housing, many more families are facing a desperate battle to keep a roof over their heads,” Rob added.

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