More than100 children in Wiltshire were living in temporary housing during the first Covid lockdown.

Between April and June this year, 135 families who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless were placed into temporary accommodation – including 115 children. 

For two families with children no accommodation was secured, though the government said these households chose to make their own arrangements while Wiltshire Council found them longer-term housing. 

The number of families in temporary accommodation in Wiltshire is at the lowest it’s been for many years, according to deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for housing, Cllr Richard Clewer.

Figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show that 0.63 households per 1,000 in Wiltshire were in temporary accommodation between April and June.

This is figure is a comparatively lower rate than seen across the south west, where the level is 1.58 families per 1,000. It is far lower than the national rate of 3.39.

Across the whole region there were 3,860 households in temporary accommodation during the lockdown period, this figure includes 1,320 with children.

Cllr Clewer said that between July and September, the council was approached by over 800 households at risk of homelessness – including families, couples and single people. 

He said: “Due to the prevention work by our housing team the number of Wiltshire families in temporary accommodation is currently the lowest it has been for many years.

“Of the 135 households placed in temporary accommodation between March 1 and June 30, only eight are still in temporary accommodation.

“This includes four households with a total of six children between them. 

He explained: “Most people spend less than three months in temporary accommodation as we work hard to get them into suitable and sustainable accommodation as soon as possible.” 

He also said that the council never used bed and breakfasts for temporary accommodation because it was best practice. It was one of the few councils not to do so. 

“The temporary accommodation we use is either a leased private or social property or else a placement within the council homeless hostel,” Cllr Clewer said.

“Between July and September, we were approached by 813 households stating they were at risk of homelessness.

“We often don’t hear from households until the last minute but we must emphasise that our prevention work is essential and that people at risk of becoming homeless should get in touch with us as early as possible so that we can work with them to try and prevent them from becoming homeless. 

“At the current time, the government has stopped nearly all court possessions until January11  which gives us longer to work with households.

“But we are expecting to see numbers rise in the future.”

The council has also received £619,000 from the government to help provide long term accommodation for rough sleepers and this will be used to provide ‘more on’, next step housing the local authority hopes will reduce rough sleeping in the county.

Robert Jenrick, secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, said that the launch of the Protect Programme scheme will help council offer anyone sleeping rough secure accommodation.