Homeless families in English B&B accommodation rises by 46%

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The number of homeless families living in bed and breakfast accommodation in England has risen by 46% in a year, according to government figures.

As many as 3,000 families were housed in B&Bs in the three months to the end of September 2015, the figures show.

That compares with 2,060 families in such accommodation a year previously, and is the highest total for 12 years.

The government announced an extra £5m of help, and said it was committed to helping the most vulnerable in society.

Housing charity Shelter blamed cuts in local authority budgets, which have left some councils struggling to cope.

There was also a 20% rise in the number of households who were re-housed outside their local area.

According to the figures, 18,600 households were re-located, the highest number ever. Almost all of them were in London.

'Significant challenges'

The number of children who were in temporary accommodation - and therefore classified as homeless - rose to 103,430 in the quarter, the highest number since 2008.

"These figures are a heart-breaking reminder that thousands of families will wake up homeless this Christmas morning - many hidden away in a cramped and dingy B&B or hostel room, sometimes miles away from everyone and everything they know," said Campbell Robb, the chief executive of Shelter.

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The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has announced a new fund worth £5m, to be spent across 25 of the worst-affected local authorities.

The authorities, most of which are in London, will be able to apply for up to £200,000 each, but the money must be spent before April next year.

"Time spent in temporary accommodation ensures no family is without a roof over their head," said Communities Minister Marcus Jones.

"The number of households living in temporary accommodation is still significantly lower now than the peak in 2005, but we recognise that many councils still face significant challenges."

The government also announced a further £139m to tackle homelessness in the Autumn Statement. The money will be spent over the remaining course of this parliament.

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