Report: Cashing in - How a shortage of social housing is fuelling a multimillion-pound temporary accommodation sector

Summary

The housing emergency gripping our country has been caused by a chronic lack of investment in decent and genuinely affordable social rented housing.

We want the new government to invest in a new generation of social homes which would give thousands of homeless families and millions of struggling private renters the chance of a stable home.

However, instead of investing in the social housing that would end the housing emergency, public money is currently being spent on dealing with its impact: rising homelessness.

The latest government statistics show 127,370 homeless children in England are growing up in insecure and often cramped, poor-quality temporary accommodation. Between April 2018 and March 2019, councils spent almost £1.1 billion on temporary accommodation – a rise of 9% in a year and 78% in five years.

Councils procure most of their temporary accommodation from for-profit private providers.

Through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request Shelter have been able to link temporary accommodation expenditure to specific private providers at a local level.

  • Our research shows individual provider-authority contracts worth up to over £31 million.
  • And shows the top 25 suppliers across the country by combined local authority spend.

The new government must get a grip of this dreadful phenomenon. They have inherited a system where billions of pounds of taxpayer money are paid to accommodate homeless families in such dreadful places and line such unscrupulous pockets.

Councils need an alternative: they must instead invest in a new generation of decent, affordable social homes.