‘Children in B&Bs still at risk’

Thousands of homeless children will continue to live in bed and
breakfast accommodation despite the government’s pledge to
end its long-term use for families, children’s charity
Barnardo’s has warned.

From last month, 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 said that up to 9,000 families were
still in B&Bs and B&B-type accommodation 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 meant that only half of
homeless families would 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 pledge include those accommodated by
social services departments and by the National Asylum Support
Service, said Barnardo’s. Also the pledge relates only to
private sector B&Bs, and does not include families in public
sector temporary accommodation such as hostels.

Local housing authorities will still be able 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

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