Nottingham City Council has joined local authorities from across the country in calling on the Government to provide additional support to address a national homelessness crisis.
The council, along with over 150 other authorities, took part in a summit earlier this week convened to address the social and financial crisis caused by an unprecedented increase in people needing to be housed in temporary accommodation.
A letter from the councils has been sent to the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt highlighting that the situation is becoming untenable and threatening to overwhelm budgets unless additional financial support is provided by the Government.
A recent council report highlighted how the situation is affecting Nottingham and what steps the council is taking with partners to try to address the issue.
The report says although Nottingham is comparatively good at homeless prevention through helping people to stay in their homes, demand for support is extremely high and increasing and the council is having to place large numbers of people in temporary accommodation with significant budget overspend predicted in this area.
The council has increased temporary accommodation for families from 88 units in 2017 to 441 units in 2023 and additionally provides 430 units of supported accommodation for single homeless people, including rough sleepers. All provision is currently full and there are an additional 169 households in hotel accommodation which currently costs approximately £134 per room per night.
To try to address the situation, the council has created a new Housing Solutions team to provide additional resources for enhanced prevention and offer tailored housing options for households. Early prevention activity will be targeted at high-risk households with officers having access to a “prevention toolkit” to help people remain in their homes and reduce the need for temporary accommodation.
Councillor Jay Hayes, the council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “Councils like Nottingham are having to put an increasing number of people, including families with children, into temporary accommodation such as B & Bs because there are simply no other options available. This clearly isn’t a good outcome for people who find themselves in this situation and comes at a huge cost to local taxpayers.
“We’re doing all we can to provide support to prevent people becoming homeless in the first place but it’s vital that the Government provides additional financial support to councils urgently to tackle this immediate crisis. In the longer term there needs to be a fundamental change in national housing policy and funding which increases the availability of affordable homes for people.”