Hammersmith & Fulham Council has bucked a London trend by having no local families with children in emergency housing in bed & breakfasts – for the first time in more than four years.
The news is a major result for the council, which has regularly been forced to turn to expensive B&B landlords to help house local families in need. Due to a drastic shortage in social housing in H&F and across London, most councils use B&Bs to assist families in times of emergencies.
The council has worked hard to find alternative housing for families with children and have been successful in helping many families move directly into temporary accommodation. While far from ideal, it provides a better environment for families than B&Bs and is much less expensive. However, this type of temporary housing is very hard to find in the midst of a housing crisis.
“This is fantastic news that shows our efforts over the last year to find suitable, proper housing for families in crisis are working,” said Cllr Lisa Homan, H&F Council Cabinet Member for Housing.
“Keeping young families out of temporary B&B accommodation is a big result. It’s not only the right thing to do for the families it also saves scarce taxpayer money.”
“But this is just the start. We need to make sure we maintain this success as well as prepare for challenges presented by changes at the national level that could see more residents become homeless at the same time as making it more difficult for councils to provide social housing,” Cllr Homan added.
New strategy on housing
In May, H&F Council launched a bold and innovative approach to revolutionise housing in the borough.
Some of the key aims of the new housing strategy were to introduce a fairer approach to allocating affordable housing in the borough, and to refresh the council’s approach to preventing homelessness by working more closely with the voluntary sector and local housing associations.
The council is currently consulting on social housing tenancies and its Home Buy scheme.