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London boroughs warn of homelessness crisis worsening

London Councils has announced that new analysis shows one child in every classroom, on average, is homeless, whilst calling for the government to use today’s Spring Budget to increase support for households that are struggling financially.

The cross-party group representing the nation’s capital has gathered figures that show how homelessness pressures are only getting worse. The data shows that 166,000 Londoners are now homeless and living in temporary accommodation, with 81,000 off these being children. This means that one in every 23 children in the capital is homeless.

The driving force behind the ongoing crisis in the city is due to the severe shortage of affordable accommodation, whilst rent increases in the private rented sector has led to a decline in the affordability of housing for low-income Londoners. This matter isn’t helped by the decision to freeze the amount of housing support that households are entitled to through the Local Housing Allowance, leading to London Councils recommending that, alongside other support through the Budget, the government should raise the rates to increase the support available to those relying on the LHA to meet their housing costs.

The full analysis from London Councils has shown:

  • There has been an 18% increase in the number of Londoners that are turning to their local authority for housing support due to being at risk of homelessness.
  • As of December 2022, there were almost 2,000 homeless families living in Bed and Breakfast accommodation in the capital, showing a 25% increase on the year before. Boroughs use Bed and Breakfasts as last resorts when there is a lack of suitable accommodation, with this statistic reflecting the worsening housing pressures in one of Europe’s major cities.
  • London accounts for approximately two-thirds of England’s overall number of households in temporary accommodation, making this the most sever homelessness crisis in the country. There has been a 66% increase in the number of households living in temporary accommodation since 2010.
  • Homelessness is also increasing spend from local government in the capital, with £50 million being spent collectively every month to fund temporary accommodation.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Regeneration, Housing and Planning, said:

“London’s homelessness crisis is getting even worse. The toxic combination of cost-of-living pressures and the chronic shortage of affordable housing means more and more Londoners – especially families with kids – are ending up homeless.

“The situation is unsustainable. Homelessness has a devastating impact on those who experience it, and it also leads to massive costs to councils and the wider public sector.

“We need urgent action from the government. The Chancellor must use the Budget to boost support for struggling households and to help us deliver the affordable homes London’s communities are desperate to see.”

By way of a solution, London Councils has stated that it wants to see a range of targeted measures from government, with these including raising Local Housing Allowance, increasing Discretionary Housing Payment, removal of the ‘unfair’ restrictions on Right to Buy sales receipts.

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