Government has turned its back on the homeless

November 8th, 2017

Responding to today’s report from Shelter which found that more than 300,000 people in Britain are homeless, with all but two of the worst 20 boroughs in London, Labour’s London Assembly Housing Spokesperson, Tom Copley AM, said:

“Recently the National Audit Office warned that government welfare policies are directly contributing to the homelessness crisis. These appalling figures show that the Government has wilfully turned its back on those who’ve had the misfortune to find themselves homeless.

“With the need for 66,000 new homes a year to tackle London’s housing crisis – the majority of which must be genuinely affordable – the Government cannot miss the opportunity at this year’s budget to hand the Mayor the funding to make this happen.

“Right now we’ve got a Prime Minister who has prioritised pumping £10 billion into Help to Buy, inflating house prices in the process, rather than committing the funding to build hundreds of thousands of much needed social houses. The need to pave the way for longer tenancies doesn’t even appear to be on the Government’s radar and they chose capping benefits over capping rent increases.

“The Mayor has pledged £9 million a year to tackle rough sleeping, but this must be matched by determined action from the Government to tackle the chronic shortage of affordable housing and abandon their punitive welfare cuts and caps.

“We know so much about the causes of homelessness, but if we don’t start applying the solutions this picture is only going to become even more bleak.”

Ends
Notes
  • In September, a report from the National Audit Office criticised the government’s ‘light touch’ on dealing with homeslessness;
  • Research from Shelter shows that 307,000 people are homeless in Britain today (Shelter’s review combined official rough-sleeping, temporary accommodation, and social services figures);
  • Research from Shelter, in the table below, sets out the top 50 areas with the highest rates of recorded as homelessness. Only two boroughs in the top 20 are outside London:

Table 1: Top 50 areas with highest rates of recorded as homelessness (comprises temp. accommodation and rough sleeping figures only)

Local Authority Region Number of people living in TA Number of people rough sleeping Total homeless people Total people 1 in x people are homeless National Rank
Newham London

13,566

41

13,607

340,978

25

1

Haringey London

9,688

29

9,717

278,451

29

2

Westminster London

7,794

260

8,054

247,614

31

3

Enfield London

10,051

6

10,057

331,395

33

4

Kens & Chels London

4,387

14

4,401

156,726

36

5

Waltham Forest London

7,587

47

7,634

275,843

36

6

Brent London

8,881

24

8,905

328,254

37

7

Barking & Dag London

5,573

5

5,578

206,460

37

8

Tower Hamlets London

7,417

11

7,428

304,854

41

9

Hackney London

6,150

17

6,167

273,526

44

10

Redbridge London

6,197

60

6,257

299,249

48

11

Lewisham London

6,198

16

6,214

301,867

49

12

Hamm & Fulham London

3,515

6

3,521

179,654

51

13

Luton East of England

4,113

76

4,189

216,791

52

14

Ealing London

6,529

27

6,556

343,196

52

15

Croydon London

7,007

68

7,075

382,304

54

16

Barnet London

7,011

22

7,033

386,083

55

17

Lambeth London

5,656

17

5,673

327,910

58

18

Southwark London

4,955

32

4,987

313,223

63

19

Brighton & Hove South East

4,074

144

4,218

289,229

69

20

Wandsworth London

4,590

5

4,595

316,096

69

21

Bromley London

4,478

3

4,481

326,889

73

22

Broxbourne East of England

1,301

3

1,304

96,779

74

23

Bexley London

2,918

11

2,929

244,760

84

24

Birmingham West Midlands

12,730

55

12,785

1,124,569

88

25

Kingston London

1,910

23

1,933

176,107

91

26

Hounslow London

2,744

34

2,778

271,139

98

27

Harrow London

2,358

10

2,368

248,752

105

28

Milton Keynes South East

2,358

38

2,396

264,479

110

29

Islington London

1,916

11

1,927

232,865

121

30

Harlow East of England

681

20

701

85,995

123

31

City of London London

25

50

75

9,401

125

32

Havering London

1,932

24

1,956

252,783

129

33

Slough South East

1,092

25

1,117

147,181

132

34

Hillingdon London

2,166

28

2,194

302,471

138

35

Watford East of England

662

13

675

96,773

143

36

Sutton London

1,331

8

1,339

202,220

151

37

Manchester North West

3,433

78

3,511

541,263

154

38

Gosport South East

527

6

533

85,363

160

39

Dartford South East

633

9

642

105,543

164

40

Reading South East

956

22

978

162,666

166

41

Bristol, City of South West

2,600

74

2,674

454,213

170

42

Basildon East of England

1,062

17

1,079

183,378

170

43

Dacorum East of England

867

6

873

152,692

175

44

Epsom & Ewell South East

425

3

428

79,588

186

45

Peterborough East of England

1,021

21

1,042

197,095

189

46

Camden London

1,254

17

1,271

246,181

194

47

New Forest South East

886

4

890

179,236

201

48

Greenwich London

1,379

8

1,387

279,766

202

49

Chelmsford East of England

817

14

831

174,089

209

50

Compiled from official statistics on temporary accommodation (as at Q2 2017) and rough sleeping (Autumn 2016). TA figures adjusted to estimate total number of people (adults and children), rather than households.
  • Tom Copley AM is a Londonwide Assembly Member