Thousands of homeless children will continue to live in bed and
breakfast accommodation despite the government’s pledge to end
long-term B&B for families, children’s charity
Barnardo’s has claimed.
From April, councils in England can place families with children
or pregnant women in B&B temporary accommodation for a maximum
of six weeks.
However, Barnardo’s estimates that up to 9,000 families will remain
in B&B and B&B-type accommodation after this date because
the pledge does not cover all homeless families.
Alan Coombe, principal policy officer at the charity, said the
narrow definitions used by the government mean only half of
homeless families will be helped. Living in B&B puts families
under multiple pressures and has serious consequences for the
health, education and well-being of children, he added.
Families not covered by the government pledge include those
accommodated by local authority social services and by the National
Asylum Support Service, said Barnardo’s
Also the pledge relates only to private sector B&B, and does
not include families in public sector temporary accommodation, such
as hostels, where the conditions can be as bad or worse.
This leaves a loophole for local housing authorities which can
continue to use this type of accommodation while appearing to meet
their obligations under the pledge, said the charity.
Barnardo’s has called for the government to extend the new law to
cover all families housed in B&B, and public sector
accommodation where conditions are similar to those in private