Homeless families stuck in B&Bs for three months as numbers rise

Latest figures show B&B and hotel accommodation accounts for around 600 homeless placements across Glasgow compared to 240 pre pandemic. 

Homeless families stuck in B&Bs for three months amid calls for support from Glasgow City Council iStock

Homeless families spending more than three months in bed and breakfast accommodation need more support from Glasgow City Council and the local health board according to a councillor. 

A report brought before Glasgow City’s Integrated Joint Board (IJB) shows that homelessness services are facing major challenges as a result of the continued high demand.

While the homeless services responded well to the public health pandemic, it has emerged that registered social landlords (RSL) have not kept up with the continued demand for accommodation meaning more people are relying heavily on B&B services around the city.

As it stands, B&B and hotel accommodation accounts for around 600 homeless placements across the city compared to 240 pre pandemic. 

The current cost of B&B use for 2022/23 is projected at £5.3m and is expected to rise to £10.5m in 2023/24. With £8.5m of Covid-19 funding from the Scottish Government being removed, the financial pressure on the homelessness services in Glasgow will be “exacerbated” according to the report. 

One proposal for cutting the costs was to reduce the use of bed and breakfast type  accommodation, increasing the provision of RSL lets for homeless  households and improve the turnover of empty temporary furnished flats.

That sparked warnings that if carries out too fast it could lead to a rise in rough sleeping, while councillors were also concerned about the welfare of people being left in B&B accommodation for too long.

During the meeting, councillor Lana Reid-McConnell said: “We know most of them don’t have a fridge or a microwave in their rooms. 

“Would there be extra provision or support that could be provided to families with children. It seems unpalatable to take away their support especially when some people are spending up to three months or more in these b&bs. 

“I welcome the ambition of reducing their usage but something doesn’t feel quite right.”

An IJB officer confirmed that homelessness had been underfunded in Glasgow for a long time while another said very few families stayed in hotel accommodation for more than seven days.

They confirmed that they were still trying to encourage RSL to contribute to 60% of the homeless housing stock.

They said: “ Sadly we have never been able to come anywhere near that and it would be our intention to ask again in the new financial year. 

“Unfortunately we have families residing in our hotels and B&Bs and when that does happen, we keep an eye on anyone that has been there for a length of time that succeeds seven days and make sure that we have an oversight of that and that people are moved on.

“These are just some of the challenges that we face in Glasgow.”