A picture of a mattress outside a fast food chain with a cardboard sign on top.

Families living in bed and breakfasts in Brent more than tripled

The number of families living in bed and breakfasts increased by 322% in Brent, figures have shown.

Data also suggested that homelessness presentations to the Housing Needs Service increased by 22% compared to last year.

According to Brent Council’s 2024/2025 draft budget, 324 families lived in bed and breakfast and annexe accommodation at the end of July 2023, despite the Temporary Accommodation Placement Policy which aims to avoid placing families with dependent children in bed and breakfasts.

If homelessness presentations continue at the same rate, Brent Housing Needs Service will receive the highest number of applications ever this financial year at an average of 148 every week.

A Brent food bank volunteer said: “We have a constant flow of homeless peopwle coming into the food bank. We are dealing with people that are stuck in hotels. Some of them are quite distressed by it.”

Brent cabinet member for housing, homelessness and renters’ security councillor Promise Knight said: “Despite increasing the supply of new homes more than any other council in the country last year, this has not been enough to cope with the tsunami of demand from hundreds more families coming to us for help because they are homeless.”

Councillor Knight added that long-term funding to increase social housing is needed, along with a government policy to stimulate retention and supply in the private rented sector, and an end to right to buy.

Joe Walker, St Mungo’s senior policy officer, said: “It’s becoming well evidenced that temporary accommodation has negative impacts on individuals and families in terms of educational attainment, health outcomes and employment opportunities.”

Mr Walker added there are solutions in the immediate term to ease pressure felt by local authorities, such as increasing the rates of housing benefit: “The Department for Work and Pensions estimated this would cost £700m, yet local councils are now spending nearly £2bn on providing temporary accommodation, so it’s worth the investment to prevent people from losing their homes in the first place.”

Brent Council faces a £13m overspend this year mainly due to rising homelessness.

In the past few years, Brent has delivered 846 new homes, 1,265 more are being built, and there’s a target to build 1,700 new council homes and 5,000 affordable homes by 2028.

Other London boroughs are experiencing a similar story, with a 20% increase in homelessness presentations on average.

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