THE CITY council had to spend almost 60 per cent more on housing homeless households in the last 12 months than it did the previous year, new government figures have revealed.

Worcester City Council spent £417,000 providing temporary accommodation to the homeless in the last year - just over £8,000 a week - according to figures published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The spending last year was 59 per cent higher than the £262,000 spent between 2017 and 2018.

A spokesman for Worcester City Council said: “The rise in homelessness isn’t unique to Worcester - nationally, homelessness has increased by nine per cent in the last year and 78 per cent in the last five years.

“In Worcester we use a range of temporary accommodation units to accommodate homeless households in both emergency situations and for longer periods where necessary, in order to meet our statutory responsibility.

“The council also uses self-contained properties for accommodating families for longer periods – and we are in the process of acquiring more Council managed properties so there will be less of a need to use B&Bs in the near future.

“Our main aim is to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place. If you are at risk of become homeless, we urge you to contact our housing team as soon as possible by calling 01905 722589 or emailing

“The sooner you act, the better chance you will have of keeping your home and getting the support and advice you need.”

Housing charity Shelter says councils are being forced to waste “vast sums” on unsuitable temporary accommodation because of a failure to invest in social housing, after the bill rose to more than £1 billion a year across England.

Shelter describes B&Bs as “some of the worst places for families with children to live”, as they often involve entire households living in one small room without cooking facilities.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said the figures were a shocking but “entirely preventable consequence” of the country’s housing emergency.

She said: “If consecutive governments had built the genuinely affordable social homes that are needed, fewer people would be homeless, and we would not be wasting vast sums on unsuitable temporary accommodation.

“What’s even more shameful is that so much of this public money is lining the pockets of unscrupulous private landlords, who can charge desperate councils extortionate rates for grim B&Bs, because there’s nowhere else for families to go.”

Councils spent a total of almost £1.1 billion on temporary accommodation, an increase of nine per cent in just one year.