Merton wins the B&B battle

The London Borough of Merton’s housing needs team has met the government’s target of having no families in bed and breakfast accommodation for longer than six weeks, ahead of the deadline.

In March 2002, the government set a challenging target for all local housing authorities to end the use of B&Bs for homeless families with children for longer than six weeks by 31 March 2004. The target was set in recognition of the damaging impact on children forced to spend long periods in B&Bs whilst waiting for permanent accommodation.

Merton’s success in achieving this target is due to a more effective approach to homeless prevention, and to the council looking for longer-term solutions to meet housing needs. Merton has worked in partnership with private landlords and housing associations to increase the number of available flats and houses.

Steve Austin, Merton’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said:

‘This accomplishment is a reflection of how Merton is committed to delivering the highest level of services to the community. Bed and breakfast accommodation is not ideal for families with children. Staff at Merton have been working incredibly hard to find more stable temporary accommodation for families.”