More than 100 councils join emergency summit over temporary accommodation crisis

They will urge the Government to act ahead of the Autumn Statement.

Anahita Hossein-Pour
Thursday 26 October 2023 13:06 BST
More than 100 local councils are coming together to urge immediate action from the Government due to ‘unprecedented demand’ for temporary accommodation (PA)
More than 100 local councils are coming together to urge immediate action from the Government due to ‘unprecedented demand’ for temporary accommodation (PA)

More than 100 local councils will use an emergency summit to urge the Government to act over the crisis of “unprecedented demand” for temporary accommodation.

Eastbourne Borough Council and District Councils’ Network are hosting an urgent meeting on October 31 to write a cross-party letter to ministers to adopt measures ahead of the Autumn Statement.

Council bosses will share information and explore solutions amid the “escalating social and financial crisis” created by the soaring need for temporary housing.

Eastbourne Borough Council leader, councillor Stephen Holt, said: “The situation is stark.

“Councils provide a safety net for the most vulnerable people who need our help, and that safety net is at real risk of failing.

“Figures from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities have shown that the cost of temporary accommodation to local authorities reached 1.7bn last year and is increasing rapidly.

“This is wholly unsustainable for councils, and the situation is now critical.”

Council chiefs on Tuesday will discuss a range of demands for the Government to enact, such as giving district authorities more power, funding and resources to build more social housing, and raise local housing allowance rates for private rented accommodation.

Local government minister Lee Rowley has been invited to attend the summit, according to council bosses.

Eastbourne Borough Council is hosting the online summit after recognising many councils were facing the same issues in this area.

In Eastbourne, the cost of temporary and emergency housing on homeless claims was £4.6 million in 2022 to 2023 and the council was able to reclaim a £2 million subsidy from the government.

The authority therefore had a cost of £2.6 million, a council spokesperson said.

Housing costs are estimated to increase to £5.8 million for the next year and the authority will be able to claim a £2.2 million subsidy.

The cost to the council will then rise to £3.6 million.

District Councils’ Network spokeswoman for health, housing and hardship, councillor Hannah Dalton, said: “Across the country, we are experiencing a spiralling tide of need, driven by a severe shortage of social housing, the cost-of-living crisis, and an unstable and unaffordable private rented sector.

“This means as district councils, we are placing an unprecedented number of people in temporary accommodation, which is cripplingly expensive for councils and unsuitable for residents.

“Districts are vital to preventing homelessness and providing resolution when our residents are faced with no alternative.

“Without urgent intervention, the very existence of this safety net is under threat.”

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in