Families with children 'blighted by homelessness' living in B&Bs in Hull on the rise

Five Hull families had lived in bed and breakfasts with their children for more than a month at the end of last year, according to Government figures.

The families living in B&Bs for more than six weeks were among the 151 households living in temporary accommodation between October and December, up from 107 twelve months prior. A Hull City Council spokesperson said the local rise in demand for temporary accommodation reflected a growth in homelessness seen across the country.

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson said they had given councils a total of £1.2bn towards helping those in temporary accommodation find a new home. It comes as Shelter chief executive Polly Neate called on politicians to get serious about ending which she said was a housing emergency after "decades of failure".

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The chief executive added 90,000 social homes would need to be built every year for a decade and more protections were needed for renters to resolve the crisis. Figures from the Government department showed 2,960 families with children had lived in B&Bs for more than six weeks at the end of last year.

The total is up 84 per cent compared to the previous year and 1,750 per cent compared to May 2010 when the Conservatives first came into office. The figure then stood at 160 families across England.

In Hull, there were no families with children who had lived in B&Bs for more than six weeks from April and June 2020 until the same period in 2023. There was an exception in October to December 2020 when one family was recorded.

One was then recorded in July to September 2023, rising to five between October and December. In the East Riding, the total peaked at three from April to June 2021 to October to December 2021 and reached zero by January to March 2023. The total then went up to two in July to September but was back at zero by October to December.

The total number of households living in B&Bs in Hull stood at 47 as of October and December, 18 of them with children.

Hull's total living in B&Bs between October and December was up from the year before but down from the last five years' peak of 60 in April to June 2020. In the East Riding, households in B&Bs numbered nine and one with children, out of 171 households living in some form of temporary accommodation between October and December.

The overall total in temporary accommodation at that time is the highest recorded since April to June 2019 and is up from 137 at the start of 2023. Households in B&Bs in the East Riding peaked at 14 from April to June 2021 and the highest figure for those with children was five at the same time.

Government targets aim for families who are deemed to be homeless to be out of B&Bs after six weeks. The national total of families in them longer than six weeks compares to the highest recorded figure of 3,050 between October and December 2002, when Labour were in power.

That dropped to 30 families by the first quarter of 2004. Shelter's Ms Neate said families had been forced into temporary accommodation because there was nowhere else for them to live.

The charity's chief executive said: "The government cannot stand idly by while a generation of children have their lives blighted by homelessness. Decades of failure to build enough genuinely affordable social homes has left families struggling to cobble together extortionate sums every month to keep a roof over their heads."

Hull City Council's spokesperson said they were currently looking at trying acquire more good quality self-contained accommodation. The council assigns each family in temporary accommodation a named officer who helps them try to find somewhere to live and those in B&Bs are closely monitored.

The spokesperson said: "Like local authorities nationwide, Hull has seen an unprecedented increase in demand for temporary accommodation over the past 12-18 months. The reasons for this are complex but are primarily linked to a chronic shortage of permanent, affordable housing which will only be resolved by a national response. We mostly use our own housing stock as temporary accommodation with B&Bs used as a last resort for families."

East Riding Council's spokesperson said they were working hard to keep the use of B&Bs for accommodation to a minimum. The spokesperson said: "The council is fully aware of the increasing use of temporary accommodation and B&Bs to meet the needs of the homeless across the East Riding. We work closely with residents both in temporary accommodation and B&Bs to provide the necessary support and advice and guidance to ensure that their stays in these types of accommodation is as short as possible. "

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities' spokesperson said: "We want everyone to have a safe place to call home, which is why we’re giving councils £1.2bn so that they can give financial support to those who need it. At the same time, we’ve boosted the local housing allowance, giving the 1.6m private renters in receipt of housing benefit or universal credit an additional £800 to help towards rental costs."