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Homeless families need help
More than 140 children in Bradford from 73 families are officially classed as homeless, new figures reveal.
But out of the 148 children, who are eligible for full housing duty from Bradford Council because of their circumstances, only 17 are staying in temporary accommodation provided by the local authority.
The Council states that only 11 families with dependent children have taken up the support, with others choosing to remain in accommodation classed as homeless or deciding to make their own arrangements.
The figures come after a report released by homelessness charity Shelter today, based on data from the Department for Communities and Local Government, that claimed that 727 children across Yorkshire and the Humber could face the prospect of being homeless for Christmas this year.
According to DCLG statistics, 73 children from 38 households were in temporary local authority accommodation in Bradford at the end of this June this year.
However, Councillor Val Slater, Executive Member for Housing at the Council, stated that the June figure has now dropped significantly.
“We currently have 11 families in temporary accommodation accepted as homeless,” she said. “These families, with 17 children among them, are in dispersed units and Octavia Court, managed by Incommunities. There are no families in B&B accommodation.”
A Council spokesman also said that while there are 131 children from 62 households eligible for full housing duty, and therefore technically classed as homeless, they had been offered support but chosen to make their own personal arrangements, such as staying with friends or relatives.
“The local authority offers assistance to everyone who seeks housing assistance in Bradford and considers whether they are at risk of homelessness in the near future,” said Coun Slater.
“Prevention assistance provides people with help to address their housing and other needs to avoid homelessness. It should enable a household to remain in their current home, where appropriate, or enable a planned and timely move and help sustain independent living.”
The Council said it also operated a scheme to offer affordable and suitable options in the private rented sector, and was piloting a fast-track scheme which has so far helped seven families access accommodation within a three-week period.
The Shelter report said there were more than 43,000 homeless households at the end of June this year across the UK, leaving 80,000 children to wake up homeless over the Christmas period.
Campbell Robb, Shelter Chief Executive, said: “No child should be homeless, but tragically, with more people struggling to make ends meet and homelessness on the rise, we’re bracing ourselves for an increase in demand from families who desperately need our help.”
Housing Minister Kris Hopkins, from the DCLG, said: “We’ve given councils nearly £1billion to tackle homelessness, and to support people affected by the welfare reforms so I am very clear that they should be fully able to meet their legal responsibility to house families in suitable accommodation.
“Families should only be placed in bed and breakfast accommodation in an emergency, and even then for no more than six weeks. The funding we've given, and our change in the law to enable families to be placed in suitable, affordable private rented homes, means there is no excuse for councils to breach this.”