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Homeless bill tops £1m

PUBLISHED: 17:03 22 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:57 12 August 2010

COUNCIL bosses have frittered more than £1.3 million on temporary accommodation for homeless people sparking charities to call for more social housing. Bromley council do not have any council houses or temporary accommodation forcing them to spend a stag

COUNCIL bosses have frittered more than £1.3 million on temporary accommodation for homeless people sparking charities to call for more social housing.

Bromley council do not have any council houses or temporary accommodation forcing them to spend a staggering £1,316,855 on B&B bills in one year alone.

This was £114,091 more the previous year at £1,430,946, according to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by the Times.

A spokesperson for charity Shelter said: "More than 47,000 households across London are trapped in temporary accommodation. Shelter research shows that the uncertainty of their situation, often combined with poor living conditions, has a significant mental and physical impact on family life.

"The reason so many people are in temporary accommodation is because we simply don't have enough social homes. It is vital that local and national government work together to build more social housing to ensure that everyone has a permanent, secure home of their own."

Latest figures from May this year show approximately 590 people on the housing list in Bromley, with the "vast majority" in street properties leased from owners by Housing Associations.

The Greater London Authority (GLA) recommends Bromley council spends a maximum of £18 a night for a single B&B room, £26 for a double, £30 for a triple, £35 for a quad and £40 for a five person room.

But council bosses could not tell us how many times they have paid more than the recommended rates claiming it would take longer than the Freedom of Information Act allows for them to find out.

A spokesperson also admitted homeless people and families are sometimes sent outside the borough, but could not provide us with precise figures.

They said most of the money spent in temporary accommodation is recouped back to the council by people claiming housing benefit.

A spokesman for Bromley council said: "Preventing homelessness and helping people look at the range of housing options available is a high priority for the council and we have been highly successful in reducing those in temporary accommodation over the last four years from around 1,100 households to 569 last week.

"It is only in an emergency that we use nightly paid accommodation as a short-term solution when a household is imminently homeless and there is no other suitable accommodation."

At the time of going to press Bexley and Greenwich council had failed to complete the same Freedom of Information request in the 20 working days specified.

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