Suffolk: Families living in B&Bs due to increase in demand for affordable homes
HOMELESS families are being forced to live in bed and breakfasts due to a lack of affordable homes in parts of west Suffolk, it can be revealed.
A report designed to highlight housing issues in St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath said an increase in demand, coupled with a slowed down delivery and ‘turnover’ of affordable homes had helped create a “very challenging” situation in the region.
In addition, the lack of available one bedroom properties has led to problems finding homes for the growing number of single people who now account for more than 50% of those on the housing register.
Housing bosses, who put together the St Edmundsbury Tenancy Strategy Report to provide guidance to the region’s social landlords such as Havebury Housing and Flagship Housing, said they will now prioritise the development of affordable housing and make sure that the right properties are being built.
Lead officer Carole Herries said: “Provision of housing that is affordable to all of the community is critical to individual household’s quality of life and to building strong communities.
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“The evidence at present shows an increase in demand for affordable housing, whilst the delivery of new homes has slowed down.”
Ms Herries told the Overview and Scrutiny Committee that as of September 1 this year, St Edmundsbury had 75 statutorily homeless households in Band A of the housing register – those afforded the highest priority.
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The report states that “increased demand for homes” is “resulting in a greater number having to be placed in bed and breakfast or other temporary accommodation.”
A spokeswoman for the council, who said yesterday there were 13 families in the region’s B&Bs and nine in temporary accommodation said the figures are constantly fluctuating, but described the situation as an “upward trend.”
Councillor Anne Gower, portfolio holder for Housing, Licensing and Environmental Health, told the meeting on Tuesday that she would be “robust” with planners and work closely with developers to get the housing required.
She said: “I’m adamant that housing officers talk to planning officers to get this right. To ask is this the sort of housing that we need? What we need is housing that will speak to my housing register. We will be robust with planning and will work closely with developers.”
Mrs Gower said houses that could accommodate single people and could be easily adapted for elderly residents are essential.