Doncaster sees 'fourfold increase' in people asking for housing help as more are placed in hotels

Doncaster Council has seen a ‘fourfold’ increase in people asking for help with housing, a senior councillor has said.

Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 1:35 pm
Deputy mayor Glyn Jones

Deputy mayor Coun Glyn Jones, who has the housing portfolio, said requests for help to the council and provider St Leger Homes have rocketed since the start of the pandemic.

Latest figures show 391 households have been placed in bed and breakfasts or hotels from April to September. This is an increase during the same period on the previous year.

There were 68 people placed in hotelss in September which was up from the 57 in August.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

St Leger Homes bosses in a report seen by councillors said the total number of nights in B&B-style accommodation ‘remains high’.

The number of people moving on from hotels is to be consistent but during September, St Leger Homes had a total of 68 placements, with 26 of these being in the last week of September which included 11 in one day.

But bosses added that the length of stay has reduced with 62 per cent of people being placed in housing within the last month and only 11 have been in hotels for longer than two months.

On the number of empty properties, the figure has improved on the same time last year but 159 units remain vacant.

Mayor Ros Jones welcomed the improvement but said more was needed to be done in this area.

Coun Glyn Jones said: “On the homeless indicators, performance in these areas has been extremely challenging and is still problematic.

“There has been a fourfold increase in requests for help since the start of the pandemic. Consequently, it is expected these performance indicators will remain under pressure for some time.

“Considerable work is taking place right across the homeless partnership to address the increasing demand for support and we are starting to see these figures reduce from the highs experienced earlier in the year.

“We’re in the midst of a cost of living crisis with rising food and fuel prices. This comes at a time when it is getting colder and the £20 Universal Credit uplift has been taken away.

“Our homelessness and council services are struggling to keep up with demand and after 10 years of austerity which has battered the public sector and councils alike, Doncaster Council is significantly smaller than it used to be, but having the same statutory responsibilities.”