Families housed illegally in B&Bs shot up from zero to 175 in a year

The data was shared during the Housing Scrutiny Meeting. Pic: Tower Hamlets Council

Homeless families in Tower Hamlets have been staying in Bed and Breakfasts for periods exceeding the legal limit of six weeks, with an increase of zero to 175 families since last May.

The UK government’s Homelessness Code of Guidance states that housing authorities must not use B&Bs to accommodate families with children or pregnant women except where there is no alternative available, and then for a maximum period not exceeding 6 weeks.

Councillor Marc Francis for Bow East took to X (formerly Twitter) to share figures released at a Housing Scrutiny meeting on 19 October.

Data: Tower Hamlets Council

Councillor Francis told ELL: "The homelessness crisis facing tens of thousands of Londoners is the direct consequence of the complete failure of the Government’s housing policies over the past 13 years."

"Even against that backdrop, however, the fact that Tower Hamlets Council has over 170 homeless families unlawfully in Bed and Breakfast accommodation beyond the six-week legal limit is totally unacceptable." 

"Exactly the same thing happened when Aspire ran Tower Hamlets previously as well. The Mayor must now act urgently to move these families out of B&B into self-contained temporary accommodation. They should be properly compensated for the council’s breach of the homelessness legislation and the impact this will have had on their children’s health, education and well-being."

London Councils statistics have revealed a 781% increase in homeless families placed in Bed and Breakfast accommodation beyond the legal time limit, between April 2022 to 2023, across London boroughs.

This is equal to 1,287 families in B&Bs in April 2023 beyond six weeks, compared to 146 in the same month last year.

Elizabeth McCulloch, Policy Manager at St Mungo's, a homelessness charity based in Tower Hill, told ELL: "This is a staggering increase in use of B&Bs accommodation and reflects how dire the homelessness crisis has become. People are being forced out of their homes because they can't afford to keep a roof over their heads. The Government must restore housing benefit so that it covers the cost of affordable local rents."

ELL contacted Aspire for comment but has not yet received a response.

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