For most people spending a few nights in a Bed & Breakfast is a welcome break from everyday life. However, according to statistics released last week, there are currently around 4,500 families living in B&Bs. For these families this is far from a holiday. Often they find themselves sharing a single room with no cooking facilities save for the generic tea and coffee making amenities supplied. If they are lucky they may get a few biscuits thrown in for good measure.
The number of families having to resort to living in B&B accommodation has risen by 14% in the last year. It has also been revealed that homelessness is at a five-year peak with approximately 53,540 households declared homeless in the last financial year.
B&Bs should only be used by Councils as temporary accommodation where there is no alternative accommodation available and only for a maximum of six weeks. More and more often this six week maximum is being breached and families are finding that B&Bs are becoming more than a temporary measure. The lack of facilities, space and privacy makes B&Bs wholly unsuitable for families to live in for anything more than a temporary stay.
Homelessness has been steadily rising for the last three years. Another 6% rise last year means that homelessness figures have now reached a peak. With recent cuts to Housing Benefit it looks as though it is only set to rise.
By trainee solicitor, Kate Hancock