Lambeth Council will spend nearly £21 million buying a Camberwell property to use as temporary accommodation for homeless families.

This comes as the authority expects further welfare changes to see more fall into homelessness over the next three years.

The number of homeless households in Lambeth has risen to more than 2200 – with 1200 in expensive nightly paid accommodation at an average cost of about £7,000 per family each year.

The bulk, or 85 per cent, are families with children, a council report said.

The authority spends around £10 million annually on temporary accommodation for families.

This is despite the council’s work to prevent homelessness, with 1400 preventions made in the twelve months ending April 2016, the report explained.

“Whilst Lambeth is one of the best performing councils in London in preventing homelessness this alone will not be enough to substantially reduce the number of households in temporary accommodation and the associated costs it brings.

“Furthermore, with more welfare changes being imposed the demand on homelessness services is likely to increase over the next 2 to 3 years,” it said.

The costs are also down to a shortage of affordable long term leases in the private market, the report continued.

The three-storey building is in a reasonable condition with double glazing and gas central heating.

It will accommodate a “large number” of families, the report said.

“The purchase of the premises would ensure that the property is secured to provide much needed local and affordable temporary accommodation to a large number of families.

“The property originally built in the late 1960s extends to three storeys with rooms on the ground floor typically measuring around 279 sq ft and those on the second floor around 185 sq ft.

The council will borrow £14.6 million and use £6.2 million from right to buy to fund the purchase.