Summer surge in homelessness cripples MK Council's budget

MK council is forking out up a mammoth £888,000 a MONTH to put families in B&Bs, hotels and temporary accommodation as the homelessness crisis continues to spiral.

Wednesday, 3rd August 2016, 1:08 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd August 2016, 2:10 pm
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Though some of the money is recovered through housing benefits, it is still a huge strain on the budget, says housing councillor Nigel Long.

It costs the council £63 per room per night for every family it places in a B&B hotel. Around £17 a night is recovered via housing benefits.

A temporary rented house or flat costs £45 per night, but benefits pay £28 towards it.

Last week there were 470 homeless MK households in temporary accommodation as far afield as Birmingham.

This is a 35 per cent rise during one month alone.

Councillor Long has now pledged to secure more temporary flats or houses and slash B&B use by 75 per cent over the next two years.

“We are working really hard to respond to the growing housing and homelessness crisis facing Milton Keynes,” he said.

“We aim to provide alternative temporary accommodation to Bed and Breakfast, but in the longer term we need to deliver more affordable housing.”

Mr Long said the council is striving to work in partnership with landlords and property owners to secure more temporary flats and houses.

Some of these units will be supported by a specialist care and support partner.

The Labour-run council blames the homelessness crisis on “failed Government policies”, and is calling for more investment to solve the city’s housing problems.

Paying for B&B and hotel accommodation takes a huge chunk out of the already restricted council coffers.

“At a time of stretched budgets this extra cost takes money away from other priorities,” said Mr Long.