As many as 50 homeless families are being put up in hotels every night in Bolton as the borough faces “unprecedented pressure.”

They are amongst around 250 families estimated to be in temporary accommodation at any one time in the borough.

Dave Bagley MBE, who runs the Urban Outreach charity, says people across Bolton have found getting access to housing difficult in recent times.

He said: “It a housing crisis at the moment, and the lack of investment has been extreme for far too many years.

He added: “We certainly welcome the 1.5M homes being built in the next parliament, we know that will be difficult, but we certainly welcome it.”

Benjamin Court on Slater Street includes homeless families unitBenjamin Court on Slater Street includes homeless families unit (Image: Google Maps)

Mr Bagley said that he hoped that the new government would focus on ways of preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place, as a way of tackling the crisis.

He drew parallels with public health and the response to the Covid pandemic, where he argued the government had not focused strongly enough on preventing poor health.

Mr Bagley said: “A lot of the money given out by the government has been about intervention, but really not enough has been about prevention.

“But we’re very hopeful that in an era of change there will be more focus on preventative measures.”

He added: “It’s not just about the costs of homelessness, it's about the human cost.”

This comes with many of Bolton’s homeless accommodation agreements up for renewal.

A report put before Bolton Council said that the borough currently has between 40 and 50 families staying in chain hotels, which costs between £4,500 and £5,000 every night.

Last year the council is estimated to have spent a total of around £1.14M on alternative accommodation in hotels and with other private providers.

This comes with the leases on 35 homes across the borough that the council has agreed with Bolton at Home for the accommodation of homeless people about to run out.

A report put before Bolton Council said: “Currently Bolton Council is experiencing unprecedented pressure to provide homelessness assistance with approximately 250 households in temporary accommodation arrangements.

“Up to 50 families at any one time are being accommodated in chain hotels.

“This is on top of other nightly fee emergency accommodation and the council’s core homelessness temporary homeless accommodation provision.”

The council has already been negotiating renewing the leases with Bolton at Home, which is set for final approval this week.

To help deal with this Bolton at Home, the borough’s biggest housing provider, has agreed in principle to transfer 13 new properties to long term lease arrangements.

They will then be used for temporary accommodation.

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The authority has also been recommended to renew the leases that have run out on 35 properties used for the temporary accommodation of homeless families.

The report warned that if the council does not renew the leases, then this means it will have to find alternative accommodation for 35 families at any one time.

This would also mean having to continue paying “costly” hotel fees.

The report said: “Given the current availability and cost of alternative accommodation, the council will likely fail to meet its statutory responsibilities in some cases and be met with considerable cost to do so in other cases, initially estimated at an additional cost burden on the Council of approximately £1.3M per annum.”