Lambeth Council spent more than £5.6 million on temporary accommodation in three months, as a “severe shortage” of affordable housing forces more families into homelessness in the borough.

Raw data detailing the council’s expenditure on “bed and breakfast accommodation” shows that in October the council spent £1,794,447.56 on nightly rate accommodation, £1,945,326.85 in November and £1,922,008 in December.

A Lambeth Council spokesman said the increasing number of homeless families in the borough was behind the figures.

He said the “small income” received from families living in this accommodation – which included almost all self-contained nightly rate accommodation – reduced the net expenditure, but couldn’t disclose this amount.

“Lambeth has a severe shortage of affordable housing relative to demand, and high levels of housing need,” he said.

“Over 500 households are accepted as homeless every year in Lambeth and we have seen the number of homeless families needing temporary accommodation rise beyond 1,900. ”

Between March 2011 and March 2017 the number of households in temporary accommodation increased by 56 per cent in the borough, slightly less than the national increase of 60 per cent.

“Lambeth, like most London boroughs, is now experiencing substantial shortfalls between the subsidy provided and the actual cost of meeting temporary accommodation need,” the council spokesman added.

The council was helping more and more people out of homelessness.

“The number of cases where we have prevented or relieved homelessness has increased from 1,263 in 2014/15 to a total of 1,622 in 2016-17,” he said.

Lambeth Council had a number of measures in place to tackle homelessness, which included increasing the number of council-owned temporary accommodation properties in its portfolio, he said.

Council servcies were also increasing their impact on homelessness.

“The Housing Advice and homelessness prevention services at Lambeth include a drop-in and casework service which has seen at least 1,500 people a month: from April to December 2016 13,500 customers were seen by the First Contact Team,” he said.