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Newham’s 49 per cent homelessness rise is sixth largest in London

PUBLISHED: 11:03 21 July 2017 | UPDATED: 09:51 25 July 2017

Newham has experienced a 49 per cent increase in homelssness since 2013 Picture: Shazia Warson

Newham has experienced a 49 per cent increase in homelssness since 2013 Picture: Shazia Warson

Archant

There has been a 49 per cent rise in rough sleepers in Newham since 2013 – the sixth largest among London boroughs.

Immigration, austerity and the housing shortage were cited as factors fuelling the crisis.

A spokeswoman for Newham Council said fairer government funding was needed to reduce rough sleeping.

“The housing crisis has resulted in an increase in homelessness across London and this is felt acutely in Newham,” she said. “It is becoming increasingly difficult to find accommodation to meet the high demand and the issue is further exacerbated by the government’s welfare reforms which has restricted the number of properties available to families on low incomes.”

She said the council will continue to fund outreach work through charity Thames Reach for people struggling with alcohol, drugs and mental health issues. Homelessness across the capital has doubled since 2010, with 8,768 sleeping rough in London in the past year.

Newham’s neighbour Barking and Dagenham topped the list with a 71pc rise since 2013.

Barking and Dagenham, which has a 12pc average unemployment rate, topped the list after research by Sellhousefast.uk, which used Mayor of London figures to put neighbouring borough Havering in second place, with a 65pc increase in rough sleepers since 2013.

Redbridge also made the top five, with a 62pc increase placing it in fourth place.

With the most rough sleepers overall, Westminster experienced a rise of 16pc in the past four years.

Researchers found 47pc of homeless people seeking support in London had mental health issues and 25.6pc were living in hostels, with 15.4pc sheltering in local authority accommodation and 10.6pc staying in assessment centres.

Of those rough sleepers seeking help, 44pc were found to be struggling with alcohol and 35pc with drug misuse.

The home-selling group said Barking and Dagenham’s poverty compared with other London boroughs meant it was less competitive than its rivals in obtaining property because wealthier council demand
larger shares of the rental market.

A government spokesman said it’s “determined” to help Newham’s vulnerable with a national investment of £550million by 2020 to fight homelessness, including £20million for new initiatives for those most in need.

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