Almost one in 50 Londoners are now homeless


Almost one in 50 Londoners are now homeless, an annual report by housing charity Shelter has found.

More than 170,000 people in the capital are sleeping rough, in temporary accommodation, or living in hostels. This means 2,000 more Londoners are homeless this year than in 2018. And the report estimates an extra 150 people are sleeping on the streets of the capital this year.

The city has the highest rate of homelessness in the country, according to the study. Newham is the worst affected council area nationally, with 14,535 homeless people – meaning one in 24 residents does not have a permanent place to live.

In Haringey, 9,276 people are without a permanent home, while 5,259 are homeless in Kensington and Chelsea – meaning one in 29 people is affected in each borough. The twelve worst affected local authorities are all in London, and twenty-five of the thirty worst areas nationally are in the city.

Shelter chief executive Polly Neate said homelessness “blights lives” and many families are at risk.

She said: “As well as those facing serious ill-health or even death sleeping rough on our streets this winter, there are thousands of families trapped in grotty emergency B&Bs, with no space for children to sit and eat, let alone play.

“This is the grim truth our new government must confront and do something radical to change.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan doubled his rough-sleeping budget to £19.2 million this year, to fund more shelters and outreach services. Mr Khan is also funding affordable homes to tackle London’s housing crisis.

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But yesterday, Sadiq Khan’s chief of staff David Bellamy attacked the Government’s “piecemeal approach” to rough-sleeping funding.

Mr Bellamy said no government funding for rough-sleeping has been confirmed beyond the next financial year, and that this was a “real concern”.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council and London Councils’ executive member for housing and planning, said the figures were “appalling”.

He said: “London boroughs are committed to tackling this priority issue, but for too long we’ve been without the powers and resources needed to stop the rising tide of homelessness and build adequate numbers of affordable homes.

“We look forward to working positively with the new Government to redouble our efforts to prevent homelessness and deliver the affordable housing that London desperately needs.”

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