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We are a cross-party, member-led network, providing a single voice for our member councils

‘A perfect storm’ – media focuses on district housing crisis

Published: 6 November 2023

DCN has received significant press coverage after revealing the level of concern across our member councils about our spiralling use of temporary accommodation.

No fewer than 119 councils have signed our letter to the Chancellor, warning him of the rapidly worsening scale of the problem. Increasing homelessness resulting from factors including the cost-of-living crisis, private landlords leaving the market, homes being used for short-term lets and rent rises has left councils facing unprecedented costs for temporary accommodation.

As DCN’s Homelessness Summit, organised with Eastbourne Borough Council, heard last week, in some cases, this threatens to result in the financial collapse of individual councils, as well as leading to significant human suffering.

“With a chronic shortage of social housing available, councils are being forced to spend more and more housing families in hotels, hostels and bed and breakfast accommodation,” said an ITV News report.

Sky News quoted DCN’s letter: “Our situation is becoming untenable,” it said. “The ensuing increase in costs is a critical risk to the financial sustainability of many local authorities.”

“Councils across England have demanded urgent government action to prevent the spiralling cost of providing temporary accommodation to people at risk of homelessness from overwhelming local budgets,” was the Financial Times take.

And The Guardian said: “Over the past two years many smaller, lower-tier authorities – often in affluent home counties areas around London such as Essex and Sussex – have become increasingly vulnerable financially as a housing and homelessness crisis once focused on London and other major cities has spread rapidly.”

The New Statesman focussed on Hastings Borough Council’s plight. “Away from its salt-whipped pebble beaches and bleached arcade fronts, this East Sussex seaside town has been hit with a perfect storm of housing woes.”

A BBC report quoted Eastbourne leader Cllr Stephen Holt. “This summit must be a catalyst for change and that change cannot wait,” he said.

And, in a follow-up BBC report today, Cllr Hannah Dalton, DCN’s housing spokesperson, said: “Unless action is taken in the autumn statement, society’s most vulnerable people will continue to be hit hardest — the lifeline that their councils offer them will collapse and there will be a knock-on impact on other public services, including the NHS.”

Thank you to both the councils which contributed to this coverage – Eastbourne in particular – and to the titles and channels which have worked with us on this important subject.

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