Liverpool Council seek to create further temporary accommodation options as homelessness crisis deepens

More temporary accommodation units are required across Liverpool to meet the city’s homelessness crisis despite efforts to curb the use of expensive short-stay locations.

Liverpool Council’s cabinet is drawing up plans to utilise a further five temporary accommodation schemes in a bid to reduce the number of families in bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) and hotels. Last month, a plan described as a “means to an end” to engage the private rented sector to access hundreds of homes for up to five years, was agreed by authority leaders to ease the financial burden.

Currently, 860 people are in temporary accommodation in Liverpool, with more than 500 in B&Bs.

A report to the city’s sustainable, safe and thriving neighbourhoods committee said a new housing strategy and homelessness approach would be published this summer, outlining how the council intends to tackle the challenge in finding people permanent homes. Currently, the spend on temporary housing in Liverpool is equivalent to the council’s entire budget for culture, tourism, parks and youth services.

It would take a 12.5% Council Tax increase across the city to raise enough funds for this specific area.

The report said, “One of the key challenges for the council continues to be how to reduce the use and cost of expensive B&B accommodation, at the same time as there is an increasing number of households presenting as homeless in crisis and needing support.” Spending has risen from £200,000 five years ago to a projected £20m by the end of next month, against a budget of £16m.

Negotiations are underway between the local authority and hotel providers to reduce the cost of accommodation for families. The report outlined how the city council was seeking to provide “appropriate and suitable” accommodation options to meet the different needs, in the most cost effective manner.

This would help “step-down” households out of expensive B&B or hotels into less expensive temporary settings and support families into permanent more affordable and suitable accommodation.

Addressing the cabinet meeting last month as the private sector plan was adopted, Cllr Sarah Doyle, cabinet member for housing, said there is an “unprecedented number of people living in temporary accommodation” and criticised the lack of a ban on no fault evictions nationally. She added how it was “devastating” to see the number of people in temporary accommodation when there are empty properties around the city, which will be looked at.

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