MORE than £8m has been spent on temporary housing in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole as family homelessness soared by 26 per cent this year.

BCP Council leader, Vikki Slade, was one of 119 local authority leaders to urge Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to increase government support.

Figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities show that £8,554,000 was spent on temporarily housing the homeless in the area in the year to March.

Of this, £6,919,000 was spent on bed and breakfasts, with £740,000 of the total cost covered by the council.

Local authority leaders asked the chancellor in a letter on Monday, November 6, to raise local housing allowances and to provide £300m in discretionary housing payments by March 2025.

Councillor Kieron Wilson, portfolio holder for housing and regulatory services, BCP Council, said the council had seen family homelessness increase by 26 per cent in 2023.

“This is an absolutely critical issue and the impact of it on our services, and of course on the families themselves, cannot be underestimated,” Cllr Wilson said.

“In the majority of cases, families find themselves homeless through no fault of their own.

“No-fault’ family eviction from private sector housing, and family breakdown due to the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, are the most common causes for family homelessness. In addition, rising rents and costs due to the cost-of-living crisis mean that more and more families are struggling to make ends meet.

“Insufficient affordable housing in the private rented sector in the BCP area, coupled with a very competitive market, means it takes longer than before to find a suitable rented home, with households increasingly requiring temporary housing until a settled home is found.”

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Cllr Wilson added that ‘any additional resources to support the council would be welcomed'.

“For example, raising local housing allowance would help more people to either find an affordable home or to afford the home they currently live in,” he said.

“Meeting the additional costs of providing good quality temporary accommodation and support when it's needed is also critical, lessening the impact we know homelessness has on many of our residents’ lives.

“Our priority is to prevent homelessness from occurring in the first place. If you are worried about losing your home, it is vital that you get in touch with us as soon as you can.”

Cllr Wilson said that there are many ‘incredible’ organisations that can help those facing homelessness, including the council.

BCP Council’s early prevention service can be contacted on 01202 123456 or