Millions of pounds were spent on temporary housing for the homeless in Bolton in the space of a year - but a charity co-founder says more affordable homes need to be built.

Figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities show £3,559,000 was spent on temporarily housing the homeless in Bolton in the year to March.

Of this, £751,000 was covered by the council.

In Bolton, £860,000 was spent on local authority housing stock – the most of any type of temporary accommodation in the area.

Despite millions of pounds being spent, Billa Ahmed, co-founder of Bolton charity Homeless Aid UK, says more needs to be done as they are seeing an increased number of people in temporary accommodation.

He said: “In Bolton there is not enough properties to move people on from temporary accommodation, a lot of people are still in their temporary accommodation because there are no properties being made available.

“We are seeing the amount of people and the amount of money that is being spent but personally I think it is going to get a lot worse than it is now.

“Mortgages and rent are going up and people are not able to afford to pay, even if they get housing benefit it is not enough to cover the landlords’ mortgages, so they are pulling their properties off the market or they are taking them off the sector and giving them to people who are not on benefits.

“Personally, I think the situation is going to get a lot worse than it is now, people are ringing us up including families where landlords are putting prices up because they are having to pay more.

“We have heard of situations where people were paying £400 or £500 and now, they are being asked to pay £800 or £900 with the cost of living, with inflation and utility bills being so high, people are struggling.

“Weekly and monthly people are struggling and having to access food banks and soup kitchens and there does need to be more affordable housing.

“They are going to need more affordable housing to be built and more properties need to be made available so they can help people.

“The council are doing everything they can to move people on but if there is no property, they have got their hands tied behind their back.

“Where are we going to put these people if no homes are available?”

In response, a council spokesperson said: “As a council, our first priority is to intervene early and offer services to prevent residents from becoming homeless in the first instance.

“In certain circumstances where this is not possible, we have a legal responsibility to provide temporary accommodation.

“Unfortunately, the rising cost of accommodation and housing is impacting all councils.

“We continue to work closely with our partners in social housing, and others, to increase Bolton’s affordable housing stock.”

Shelter, a homelessness charity, has blamed the freezing of the housing benefit combined with "decades of failure" in housing policy for the growing cost of temporary accommodation to councils.

Polly Neate, chief executive of the charity, said: "We simply can’t keep throwing money at grim B&Bs and hostels instead of focusing on helping families into a home.

"With a general election on the horizon, no one can afford to continue to ignore a crisis of this magnitude.

“As an immediate solution, it’s vital the government uses the Autumn Statement to unfreeze housing benefit, so it does what it’s meant to do: stop people on low incomes from becoming homeless."

Across England, £1.7 billion was spent on temporary accommodation in 2022-23.

Figures from the end of March show more than 104,000 households were living in temporary accommodation across England.

Nearly two-thirds of these households were families with children.

A spokesperson for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: "Local authorities have seen an increase in Core Spending Power of up to £5.1 billion or 9.4 per cent in cash terms on 2022/23, with almost £60 billion available for local government in England.

"We are committed to reducing the need for temporary accommodation by preventing homelessness before it occurs in the first place, which is why we are providing councils with £1 billion through the Homelessness Prevention Grant over three years.

"We are also delivering a fairer private rented sector for tenants and landlords through the Renters Reform Bill which includes abolishing Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions.”

If you have a story or something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at or DM me on X @chloewjourno.