Figures obtained under the freedom of information request shows that about £712,000 was spent providing emergency accommodation for the homeless of Gloucester in the last year, four times what was spent four years ago.
According to the Freedom of Information (FOI), the rise in spending occurred between 2015 and 2016 when the figure jumped from £191,147 to £538,358 before jumping again, but this time to more than £712,000 in 2017. This means that the Gloucester City Council spent an additional £174,000 plus in 2017 to make sure that the homeless people in the city had a place to live than it did the previous years.
But the FOI however showed that the council budgeted only £265,000 to spend on emergency accommodation for the homeless this year, an amount that is £462,985 less than what was spent for the same purpose in 2017.
People are put into emergency accommodation when there are deemed to be homeless in what is supposed to be a temporary arrangement, but data shows that a large number of people are going months without a proper home, with one of the temporary accommodation arrangement going for as long as 41 weeks, costing the city a total of £6,170.50.
According to a council official, “finding available accommodation that is affordable and suitable is a real challenge, and on some occasions, more expensive alternatives such as hotels are used”.
According to Lloyd Griffiths, Head of Communities at Gloucester City Council, “The planned improvements to manage the demand for temporary accommodation will address the issue of emergency accommodation for the homeless as helping those in need of the support and housing is a priority for the city council”.