MONMOUTHSHIRE council is drawing up a new policy setting out how homeless households will be placed into bed and breakfast accommodation.

The move comes amid increasing homeless demand, the closure of several bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) and a lack of affordable housing in the county.

The use of B&Bs for homeless people has also increased overall.

In 2017/18, the number of single people and couple placements was 33 – an increase from 13 the previous year – although family placements decreased from 12 to eight.

Most B&B placements are currently made outside of the county, with vacancies in Monmouthshire B&Bs often difficult to access.

The average stay for non-families is 43.5 days while for families this figure is reduced to 12 days.

A council report says there are currently several challenges in providing homeless accommodation.

This includes there being only one family hostel, situated in Monmouth, private sector accommodation is difficult to access and Monmouthshire County Council accommodation is typically at capacity.

According the the report, the use of B&Bs may be necessary but that it is “always an absolute last resort” and only provided when other suitable accommodation cannot be found.

The ongoing focus will be to avoid the use of B&B accommodation and to further strengthen homeless prevention and identify additional forms of housing under the proposed policy.

Next week the council’s adults select committee will consider the draft policy which could be used to provide a framework around the use of B&Bs for homeless people.

The draft reads: “This policy seeks to provide suitable emergency B&B accommodation within Monmouthshire wherever reasonably practicable.”

Last year MCC spent £33,673 by placing households into B&B accommodation.

The draft policy maintains that applicants will not be charged.

Guidance on which households will be given priority for accommodation with Monmouthshire is also outlined in the draft policy, including a range of different circumstances.