Shropshire Star

Shropshire Council's spending on temporary housing more than doubles

Shropshire Council spent millions of pounds on housing homeless people in bed and breakfasts last year, new figures show.


It comes as housing and homelessness charity Shelter said families are being pushed into homelessness and temporary accommodation across the country, due to unaffordable rent and lack of social homes.

The figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities show Shropshire Council spent a total of £4.8 million on temporary homeless housing in the year to March – up significantly from £2.1 million the year before.

Bed and breakfasts accounted for a significant amount of spending with £2.8 million paid – 57 per cent of the total expenditure for temporary accommodation last year.

Last year's spending is also higher than the amount spent five years ago – when £923,000 was put towards temporary homeless accommodation in the area – equating to a real-terms increase of 363 per cent.

Across England, an estimated £1.6 billion was used by local authorities towards short-term accommodation for people facing homelessness in 2021 to 2022 – up five per cent from the previous year.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Homelessness is bad for the economy and it’s even worse for the people whose lives it destroys.

“It defies all logic to shell out over £1.6 billion on grim B&Bs and grotty flats, instead of helping people to keep hold of their home in the first place."

Ms Neate added that housing benefit – which assists people who are unemployed, low-income, or on other benefits to pay rent – has been frozen since 2020 "despite private rents rocketing".

She added: "This gaping hole in our country’s safety net is throwing families needlessly into homelessness and trapping them in awful temporary accommodation because they can’t afford private rentals and there are barely any social homes.

"Allowing homelessness to rise unchecked during the cost of living crisis, will only cost more in the long run.”