Housing boss explains why more Doncaster residents are having to live in in B&B accommodation 

Housing services have a duty to provide residents with emergency housing if theyhave reason to believe they may be homeless or have a priority need for housing.
Housing services have a duty to provide residents with emergency housing if theyhave reason to believe they may be homeless or have a priority need for housing.

An increase in incidents of domestic violence and larger families needing help has resulted in an increase of people living in bed and breakfast accommodation, a housing boss has said.

Steve Waddington, director of housing services at Doncaster property provider St Leger Homes, was answering questions from councillors on the Overview & Management Scrutiny Committee. 

Figures show 81 households had to be placed into bed and breakfast between July and September compared to 60 in the previous three months. 

In the same period, the of nights in B&B accommodation also increased to 660 compared with 384 between April and June.

There were also 50 households with children placed into B&B accommodation, compared with 21 households with children in between April and June.

Mr Tannery made note of the greater push to get rough sleepers off the streets and into help as a reason for the increase. He also noted a rise in domestic violence and families with larger numbers of children. 

St Leger Homes, an 'arms length' organisation which runs Doncaster Council's housing services, has a duty to provide residents with emergency housing if they have reason to believe they may be homeless or have a priority need for housing.

B&Bs are only used when there is 'no alternative appropriate accommodation option'. It's unlawful for a council to keep people in a B&B for more than six weeks if someone is pregnant or have children living with them. 
Mr Waddington said B&B stays were ‘not ideal for people’ but it is ‘better than the street’.

Councillor Andrea Robinson asked why there was no set target for this section and how much control do St Leger have to stop people entering B&B accommodation. 

Mr Waddington said: “We saw a significant increase in the summer of the number of placements and number of nights spent in B&Bs.

“Members will be aware of the rough sleeping in the town centre along with the different projects and methods to manage it – that’s also been a challenge because that saw a significant number of people into services and assessment and they usually wouldn’t all come in at once. 

“Those that include children, it’s a number of reasons we’re seeing for this including an increase in families fleeing domestic violence and a recent case where a family renting private and they had a house fire. Because of their financial situation they didn’t have home insurance which turns into a homeless situation. 

“We’ve also found that some of the households coming in have had a greater number of children and we do try and get people out of bed and breakfasts as quickly as possible into our own temporary accommodation.

“A lot of the people who come through bed and breakfasts are single-person households who often come with complexities – it all about working with those individuals with the complex lives team to find the best solution for them.”