Figures show that this year Tower Hamlets has placed no families in Bed and Breakfast (B&B) accommodation longer than the six week legal limit. This contrasts to June 2015 when Mayor Biggs inherited the worst performing Local Authority in the country for the number of families in B&Bs, which meant the Council was outside the Government’s legal requirement.
In 2015 the number of families in B&B accommodation for more than six weeks hit a high of 174, so far in 2017 no families have been in B&B accommodation for more than six weeks. It is a legal requirement for councils to move families out of B&B accommodation to self-contained accommodation within six weeks.
A review took place in 2015 focussing on increasing the number of providers of temporary accommodation and streamlining the Council's processes to prioritise moving families into self-contained accommodation. With this clear objective of stopping the use of B&B to accommodate families altogether, and where unavoidable for placements to be for the shortest possible time, the Council has vastly improved its record. Following this in September 2016 Tower Hamlets became compliant again and has remained so since then.
The overall figure of families in B&Bs in 2015 was 259, so far this year just 3 families have been placed in B&B accommodation by the Council as an interim measure.
Mayor John Biggs said:
"I am delighted that due to a concerted effort as a Council we have turned around the unfairness of families in need being made to live in unsuitable accommodation. When I came into office we were shamefully the worst borough in the country on this measure. Each one of these figures represented a family in need, and this shows the difference we can make in power".
Cllr Sirajul Islam, Statutory Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing said:
"Wherever possible the Council should ensure that families are not forced to live in Bed and Breakfast accommodation, which is unsuitable for their needs. We have brought the number of families that were above the legal limit from 174 families to zero. This is a real success story for the Council".