Homelessness in the area is rising

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A summit has painted a gloomy picture of homelessness in the region, with the number of cases on the rise and welfare reform set to make a further impact.

Rhona Brown, of the National Housing Federation and author of its Homeless Bound? publication, told Monday’s summit in Bury St Edmunds that the East of England had the third highest number of homeless families living in B&B accommodation, after London and the South East.

She also said the number of households exceeding the legal limit of six weeks in B&Bs had increased by 39 per cent in just eight months of last year.

In St Edmundsbury, there were four more families in B&Bs in June-September than in January-March, last year, with three of those staying longer than the legal limit.

The number of people becoming homeless as a result of losing a private rental tenancy in the region increased by 40 per cent between March-September last year, while in St Edmundsbury it increased by 20 per cent, from 2-14.

Another concerning regional trend was the number of homeless being accommodated in another local authority area, an increase of 19 per cent from March-September, from 121 to 144 households.

St Edmundsbury accounted for four of these.

Ms Brown warned that the benefit cap would ‘almost certainly’ increase homeless migration out of London, posing problems for the region.

She added that changes to housing benefit, a potentially depleting supply of temporary accommodation and cost of living increases would likely put further strain on those already struggling.