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Cost of housing homeless families rises to more than £1bn

The cost of housing homeless families in temporary accommodation has risen by 78% in five years to more than £1bn, according to the latest official data.

A combination of soaring rents and more families without accommodation pushed spending on emergency housing to almost £1.1bn in England in the year to April 2019, analysis of figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government shows.

Almost a third of the budget (£344m) was spent on rooms in emergency bed and breakfasts, which are among the most expensive yet least comfortable forms of accommodation, particularly for families, according to housing experts.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said the “shocking” increase – up 9% year on year – was the result of a failure by successive governments to build affordable social housing.

“What is even more shameful is that so much of this public money is lining the pockets of unscrupulous private landlords, who can charge desperate councils extortionate rates for grim B&Bs, because there’s nowhere else for families to go,” Neate said.

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