Westminster Council ‘spends millions on four-star hotels for homeless families because it cannot find homes for them’

The Sun and Mail Online report;

“Westminster council has spent millions on sending homeless people to exclusive hotels because they cannot find anywhere to house them, it was claimed today.

Westminster City Council officials allegedly approved four-star accommodation for those without homes because of a loophole in the benefit system.

Council chiefs have racked up hotel bills worth thousands, including spending £248,000 on rooms at the Jurys Inn Hotel in Chelsea, London during January and February.

It also paid for one family to stay at a hotel at a cost of £27,000 during the first two months of this year, The Sun reported.
Another extravagant spend was the council paying £171,000 on rooms at the Copthorne Tara Hotel near the exclusive Kensington Gardens in West London.

It also books rooms at the Leinster House Hotel near Hyde Park at a cost of £133,000, a Freedom of Investigation request by The Sun found.

Families are claiming they are homeless rather than moving to cheaper areas to dodge new laws that cap their housing benefit, experts told the newspaper.

Many of the cases are believed to have been staying in hotels for months, despite strict laws saying people should only be in bed and breakfast accommodation for no more than six weeks.

The Sun’s investigation follows a BBC report in February about the council’s policy of using hotels when homes could not be found.
The council has said it is using hotels because there is nowhere else for the homeless families to go and it was trying to re-house the families.

The BBC report showed the Osmans, a family of ten who had been put up in the Jury’s Inn hotel, in Chelsea, since November, after they became homeless when they could no longer afford the rent on their four-bedroom house because of the benefit caps.

It said the family’s housing benefit had been £700 a week, but it was now costing nearly the same amount every night for them to stay in the hotel.

Westminster City Council told The Sun that it was urgently seeking accommodation for the influx of homeless families, and once councillor blamed a chronic shortage of housing on the queue for homes.

The council were unavailable to comment to MailOnline this evening.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2323256/Westminster-Council-Council-spends-millions-star-hotels-homeless-families-homes-them.html#ixzz2T5P7fkMt

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4924125/Homeless-put-up-in-4-star-hotels-costing-council-millions.html

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This entry was posted in B&B accommodation, Council finances, Homeless Families, Housing, Housing Benefit, Private rented housing, Westminster Council waste and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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