Facts, figures and trends
National and Local Context
Nationally the total number of households in temporary accommodation on 30 September 2016 was 74,630, up 9% on a year earlier, and up 55% on the low of 48,010 on 31 December 2010. Following the national trend, Central Bedfordshire Council has seen increases in the use of temporary accommodation since 2014/15. High use in December 2015 (81) was followed by a reduction the following quarter due to the use of quota lets through the Allocation Scheme. Numbers increased throughout 2016 to an all time high of 101 at the end of the December quarter.
The Bed & Breakfast target of only placing households in Bed & Breakfast in an emergency and for a maximum of 6 weeks is currently being met. The average number of bed nights per quarter has reduced from 810 in 15/16 to 292 in 16/17 (3 quarters).
In December 2015 The Gateway Service, formerly Bromford floating support, was brought in-house under Central Bedfordshire Council. The service was extended to provide support to households in private temporary accommodation not managed by the Council. Due to the high demand for temporary accommodation in and around Central Bedfordshire, accommodation has had to be procured outside the Local Authority area. The Gateway service has assisted households to access benefits, maintain rent payments and access essential services if placed away from familiar services and networks.
A strategy for purchasing good quality temporary accommodation remains a focus to mitigate further increases. Numbers residing in temporary accommodation are anticipated to fall with a number of purchases in the pipeline.
Resources and Meeting Gaps
Resources are focussed on reducing the use of temporary accommodation and in particular the reduction of costly nightly let private sector temporary accommodation both inside and outside the Local Authority area:
- £2.4m investment to purchase and manage good quality temporary accommodation. 8 purchases to date and a further investment of £1.2M approved by Executive in December 2016. Further property purchases are in progress in the north area.
- Intensive property management team created to manage additional units of accommodation. The plan being developed for 2017 will create three complimentary service teams within Housing Services; Solutions, Independent Living and Intensive property Management.
- Planning approval is being sought for a new model of high quality shared accommodation which will be used flexibly to meet the housing needs of single adults. The Council will be utilising Right to Buy receipts as key to the investment.
- Emergency accommodation continues to be provided to children’s services through a crash pad scheme operating out of Bedford Court.
- Two shared houses have been developed as pilots; one as temporary accommodation for single homelessness applicants, and one for unaccompanied asylum seeker children. The schemes are being closely managed and monitored to review the challenges and successes provided by the shared accommodation model.
- Housing Options business process review in progress to identify efficiencies and opportunities for early intervention and prevention in tandem with the relaunch of the “Lets Rent” scheme and the offer to private sector landlords.
- The Housing Allocation scheme review is in progress to ensure households can move on from temporary accommodation.
Last updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017