homeless westminster

Westminster Council has been forced to buy houses outside of London to cope with the rise in homeless people living in the capital.

The council agreed to buy 600 lease homes as an emergency measure to cope with the 86 per cent increase of families classified as homeless.

It also emerged that the council spent more on short-term accommodation than any other council. It is projected to spend £41.8 million on temporary accommodation –  a 63.5 per cent increase this financial year.

The council said that it is saving more than it would if the money had to spent on welfare reforms.

Millions were also spent on rehousing vulnerable families in hotels and bed. The council also admitted that its failure to invest in enough housing sooner meant that it has been unable to meet a statutory requirement that families are only kept in B&Bs for a maximum of six weeks.

But of course, its new homes policy will invariably result in more families being moved outside of London.

The council said that ‘the combined effect of rising homeless, local housing allowance caps, household benefit caps and the new temporary accommodation funding model’ requires ‘a new approach.

But what is the reason for the steep rise in homelessness?

One of the reasons for this is that local housing allowance restrictions to housing benefits which came into force in 2011 have hit Westminster households hard as rents are significantly higher in central London.

The lack of affordable homes has also played its part. Currently Westminster said it is building 500 affordable units. Over a third of its 22,000 council housing stock has been sold off since right to buy was accelerated during the 1980s. Controversially, many of its sold off stock is now in the ownership of buy-to-let investors.

Previously, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed that it has cost Westminster £135.83m rehousing homeless people since 2009.

It was also revealed that the average monthly rent in London reached £1,100, a rise of eight per cent in a year.

In fact, rents are rising so fast in London that charities are seeing people who found new homes after being evicted in the first round of benefit cuts being made homeless again as costs soar.

The council is building 500 new ‘affordable units’ – housing aimed at those on low incomes – over the next five years.

Romin Sutherland, Project Manager for Zacchaeus 2000, a London-based anti-poverty charity said that unless more urgent action is taken, homelessness in the capital is set to rise.

He said: “As the number of households placed in temporary accommodation continues to rise, it is likely that local authorities will respond by refusing to provide housing services they are legally obliged to, as well as making inappropriate out of borough placements.

“We are already seeing households being refused a housing service for no good reason, often simply delaying their going into temporary accommodation until they face a night on the streets.”

Akashic Times is the UK’s only online, fully independent not-for-profit weekly newspaper that brings you real news from across the globe.

If you want to keep ahead of what is really going on in the world, subscribe to our newspaper via the subscribe button and join our Facebook & Twitter pages. Subscription is completely free ofcourse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(Spamcheck Enabled)