London’s housing crisis ‘unmanageable’ as one in 50 now homeless in UK capital

2023-08-03 20:01:40
London’s housing crisis ‘unmanageable’ as one in 50 now homeless in UK capital

One in 50 Londoners are now homeless and the UK capital’s housing crisis is becoming “unmanageable”, the London Councils warned on Thursday.

Boroughs are housing almost 170,000 people in temporary accommodation, including 83,500 children, according to data collected by cross-party umbrella group London Councils.

The growing crisis now collectively costs the city’s town halls £60million every month, the Evening Standard and other British news outlets reported.

The number of households needing homelessness support swelled by over 15 per cent in the last year due to cost of living pressures, figures show.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Council’s executive member for housing, called for emergency action from the government to help low-income families meet housing costs and to address the enormous financial pressures facing local services.

“This is the latest evidence of the homelessness disaster unfolding in the capital,” he said. “One in 50 Londoners homeless and living in temporary accommodation is an appalling statistic.”

Huge shortages of homes mean town halls are becoming reliant on B&B accommodation.

The number of homeless families placed in last resort hotel rooms more than doubled between April 2022 and April 2023 - from 1,543 to 3,242.

They are also increasingly being forced to live in B&Bs well beyond the six-week limit set by government.

London Councils said this meant another 1,141 extra London families stuck in unsuitable hotel accommodation in April 2023 compared to the same month last year.

It has asked the government to increase Local Housing Allowance to help people meet rents, support for councils to buy accommodation sold by private landlords and for a boost in homelessness prevention grant funding.

Mr Rodwell added: “We are especially concerned by the skyrocketing numbers of families stuck in B&Bs. Nobody wants this happening and boroughs do everything we can to support homeless families into suitable accommodation. However, more and more often boroughs face a total lack of other options for keeping a roof over these families’ heads.

“Homelessness pressures across the capital are fast becoming unmanageable.

“Ministers need to treat this as the emergency it clearly is. Much more action is needed to help low-income households avoid homelessness and to reverse the rising numbers relying on temporary accommodation.”

It comes after recent research, commissioned by London boroughs, found a 41 per cent reduction in properties available for private rent in the city since the Covid-19 pandemic.

The study, undertaken by Savills and the LSE, also found that only 2.3 per cent of listings in the capital on Rightmove in 2022-23 were affordable to low-income households using Local Housing Allowance to pay their rent.

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