Barnsley Council spend on B&B and hotels for homeless up more than 200 per cent since 2019

The amount of cash Barnsley Council has had to spend to house homeless residents in B&Bs and hotels has shot up more than 200 per cent since the 2019/20 financial year.

Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 1:20 pm

New figures show that in the 2021/22 financial year, BMBC’s total spend was £443,524 on B&Bs and hotels – up from £135,381 in 2019/20.

A report to Barnsley Council’s overview and scrutiny committee states that the use and cost of temporary accommodation “has slowly been rising over the last couple of years, and coincided with the implementation of the Homeless Reduction Act (2017) which was enacted from April 2018.

“This widened the duties we had to more customers, especially single people and re- focused the work on prevention activity.”

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ew figures show that in the 2021/22 financial year, BMBC's total spend was £443,524 on B&Bs and hotels - up from £135,381 in 2019/20.

The report adds that the top reason for people becoming homeless in the borough is no fault evictions from private rented accommodation, followed by being asked to leave by family and friends.

By the end of May, BMBC had 26 placements in B&Bs of which four were families, which is the lowest in South Yorkshire according to the report.

It adds that “work is ongoing to try and develop a range of temporary accommodation options, making us less reliant on the use of B&B and hotels, especially those out of area.”

The number of 16–17 year-olds approaching the service for assistance has grown steadily over the last few years – from 27 in 2019/20, to 62 in 2021/22.

“To address some of this the service has been working closely with children’s and adults social care to develop better pathways into housing and support for vulnerable young people,” adds the report.

A specialist homeless social worker was recruited in November 2021, who works with homeless young people aged 16-17.

Less than one percent of Barnsley’s council properties are unoccupied, as more than 9,500 people are on the council’s waiting list for a home.

New council properties are currently under construction at Billingley View in Bolton upon Dearne, St Michaels Avenue in Monk Bretton, Athersley and a further scheme has been approved at Market Street, Goldthorpe.

Councillor Caroline Makinson, cabinet spokesperson for public health and communities, said: “We want to make sure everyone in Barnsley has the best possible chance of enjoying life in good health.

“Our response to the government’s ‘Everybody In’ approach during the pandemic saw more people who we found sleeping rough in our borough being placed in B&B’s and hotels.

“Thanks to the work of our Housing Options team, this approach saw several successful cases where people are now in their own homes again, back at work and successfully managing their lives.

“As we continued to feel the impacts of the pandemic over the past year, our spend on B&B’s and hotels increased as we continued to house and support people.

“The cost of living crisis has also left people staying in temporary accommodation for longer or unable to able access affordable housing in the first place.

“We are working proactively with our partners to address this with innovative new approaches learning from what worked with ‘Everybody In’.