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Plight of North Devon homeless families in bed and breakfast

PUBLISHED: 15:00 12 August 2017

Around 30 families are currently in temporary accomodation. Picture: Tony Baggett. For illustration only

Around 30 families are currently in temporary accomodation. Picture: Tony Baggett. For illustration only

Archant

How much does it cost to keep North Devon’s homeless families in temporary accomodation?

The number of North Devon households in TA at the end of each financial year. Picture: NDC The number of North Devon households in TA at the end of each financial year. Picture: NDC

The plight of crisis-hit homeless local families has been highlighted by the cost of placing them in emergency accommodation.

For the first six months of this year it has cost more than £138,000 to provide bed and breakfast accommodation for 38 households - but the council says without this service the human impact would be huge.

The bulk of that is paid by housing benefit, with some contributions from customers, meaning the actual net cost to the council is £22,482.

Over the previous three years it has cost between £105,000 to £143,000 per year, but £254,000 in 2013-14. The total cost to the council in that time was £118,184.

The number of new housing cases the North Devon Council housing team deals with each year. Picture: NDC The number of new housing cases the North Devon Council housing team deals with each year. Picture: NDC

But the council told the Gazette housing benefit contributions and payments from customers were also received against these costs.

The totals for this year have included £63,072.52 to Travelodge, £11,835 to Wildwood B&B in Ilfracombe and £8,325.79 to Premier Inn.

The average cost is £70-80 per room per night, depending on the size of the family needing accommodation. Head of housing Jeremy Mann said the premises were chosen based on cost, availability, suitability and location.

Councillor Brian Moores, executive member for housing, said: “If the council didn’t provide this service, the human and social impact would be huge.

The number of people prevented from becoming homeless each year in North Devon by the council's actions. Piucture: NDC The number of people prevented from becoming homeless each year in North Devon by the council's actions. Piucture: NDC

“Our housing team works incredibly hard to support local people who find themselves in housing difficulties and this support does come at a cost to the council.

“The risk of homelessness is faced on a daily basis by families across the country, not just here in North Devon. It can affect anyone, at any age, at any time.

“Temporary accommodation is a stepping stone for those in crisis, a place to stay while we find an appropriate housing solution.”

The council also makes some use of private rented properties to house families as well as its own properties of two units and a shared house.

How North Devon Council is performing compared to other South West Councils. Picture: NDC How North Devon Council is performing compared to other South West Councils. Picture: NDC

It would like to reduce its reliance on temporary accommodation and wants to hear from any private landlords with suitable properties and in return can guarantee a yearly rent.

If you are an landlord and can help, email housingoptions@northdevon.gov.uk

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