Homeless families in Barnet received a welcome boost this week after the Government announced a £360,000 grant to reduce the number of families in bed and breakfast accommodation in the borough.

Under proposals announced this week, almost £23million is being handed out to 29 London boroughs after recent statistics showed that more than 11,000 households are in bed and breakfast hotels throughout the country. At the latest count, 154 families were in that situation in Barnet.

Housing Minister Jeff Rooker, said of the initiative: "Living in a cramped room without anywhere to do their homework or to play does not give children the start in life they deserve."

In January, this newspaper revealed the extent of the borough's homeless problem, with a snapshot showing almost ten people sleeping rough in garages and alleyways after official statistics put the number at zero. However, although Barnet has a high number of homeless families, it is some way behind neighbouring Brent which has 631 families living in bed and breakfast accommodation.

Councillor Brian Salinger, said: "By 2004 we intend to have no families with children in bed and breakfast accommodation and hope to have in place better value-for-money alternatives. This extra funding will help and when it is confirmed we will give details on how we intend to use it."

June 21, 2002 13:00