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Progress made on ‘Hidden Homelessness.’ But Government needs to do more

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Milton Keynes Cabinet meeting with Chief Officers on the 8 January heard some good news about the reduction in the number of families in "Temporary Accommodation", the so-called ‘hidden homeless’.  This included a 98% reduction in the use of B&B from its peak and that 92% of MK's hidden homeless are now staying within Milton Keynes.

Labour-led Milton Keynes Council has made tackling homelessness a top priority. In the last 8 months: 

  • The number of ‘hidden homeless families in Temporary Accommodation has dropped by 92 households since April 2017.  (Down from 732 to 640)  
  • More significantly the number in Bed and Breakfast accommodation has dropped from 165 in October 2016 to 2 households on the 5 January 2018. A 98% drop in the use of B&B. 
  • Now 92% or 388 of ‘hidden homeless’ families are now residing in Milton Keynes. 

Cllr Nigel Long, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Housing said, “Reducing homelessness is a top priority. We have reduced the number of ‘hidden homeless’ in temporary accommodation; almost completely ended the use of B&B, a 98% reduction, and perhaps more importantly we have managed to bring most homeless households back to Milton Keynes.  92% now reside locally. And of the 8% or 52 households still outside Milton Keynes 30 of these have offers of permanent accommodation. So numbers should fall further. 

Council Leader Pete Marland added, “We set out to tackle the shameful level of ‘hidden homeless we inherited. We have made good progress. But there are still 640  ‘hidden homeless’ families in temporary accommodation. It’s good that most are now residing in MK, so they can retain their jobs, and most are in work, and their children can stay in local schools. But we need long term, secure, genuinely affordable housing for the ‘hidden homeless’.  That requires the Government to remove its cap on our Council housing borrowing and it means Government giving us the ability to tackle poor performing private landlords. Their evictions are the main source of homelessness.”       

Cllr Long concluded, I am pleased that we are making progress on the hundreds of ‘hidden homelessfamilies . But as well as tackling the ‘hidden homeless’ we are also seeking to help those sleeping on the streets. We have reactivated the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) and as of Friday 5 January we had provided 20 rough sleepers with temporary accommodation as a result of the cold weather. We will help any rough sleepers in this cold spell.”  

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