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Deprived London boroughs “being used a dumping ground” for homeless (1 September 2015)

Date: 01/09/2015
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, Deprived London boroughs “being used a dumping ground” for homeless

Anti-poverty charity Z2K has said that affluent London boroughs are using deprived boroughs in the east end of London as a “dumping ground” for homeless families.

The Evening Standard reports that new figures show a spike in the number of homeless families being housed in deprived east London boroughs.

Inside Housing obtained the figures from London Councils – which represents London Boroughs.

East London boroughs received 5,017 homeless families from other London councils in 2014-2015 – representing a 65% increase in just two years.

The figures from London Councils also show that 1,653 families were moved to homes outside the capital in 2014-2015, compared with 1,292 in 2013-2014 and 637 in 2012-2013.

Councils often claim they are moving families to where rents are affordable.

The welfare reforms introduced under the coalition government capped weekly benefits to £500 per household, meaning many families may be excluded from the London housing market – where average rents are £500 a week for a one-bedroom flat.

Z2K has attacked the government for plans to further reduce the benefit cap – and has called for more investment in temporary housing.

Many vulnerable families and homeless single people are housed in bed and breakfast accommodation, with families often sharing one cramped room and bathroom and cooking facilities.

West London boroughs have also reported a 25% increase in the number of homeless people being received from other London boroughs for housing.

The increase in homeless people being concentrated in the East End is contributing to competition for affordable housing and is pushing up rents.

Spokeswoman for Z2K chief executive Joanna Kennedy said:

“These figures suggest that several boroughs are continuing to use east London as a dumping ground for homeless families and vulnerable single people.

“As well as undermining family and support networks these families depend upon, this approach is simply making it harder for east London boroughs to accommodate their own homeless households in-borough.”

A spokesman for Department for Communities and Local Government said:

“Councils have a clear responsibility to house families in suitable homes as soon as possible – and to take account of any impact any change in location would have.

He added that the government had made available £500m in discretionary housing payments, as well as changing the rules to offer accommodation in the private sector – and delivering more council homes since 2010 than in the previous 13 years.

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