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Newham has highest rates of recorded homelessness in London

PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 November 2017 | UPDATED: 07:31 08 November 2017

A homeless person sleeping rough in a doorway. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

A homeless person sleeping rough in a doorway. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

PA Archive/PA Images

One in 25 people in Newham are homeless - the highest figure of any London local authority - according to figures out today.

Newham topped the 20 “homeless hotspots” in the capital with 13,607 out of 340,978 people classed as homeless, housing charity Shelter said.

The vast majority - 13,566 - were found to be living in temporary accommodation [estimate based on household type] while 41 were sleeping on the streets.

Shelter collated the official statistics from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), social services and charity Homeless Link for its report Far from alone: Homelessness in Britain in 2017.

The charity said the figures do not include ‘hidden’ or unrecorded homelessness which “is very difficult to quantify, but known to be sizeable”.

Andy Haines, interim chief executive of Caritas Anchor House, called the figures “sadly unsurprising”.

He said: “We’ve seen growing numbers of people referred to our services and work hard to support as many people as possible in Newham.

“We hope to work with the borough to find solutions to this crisis.”

Haringey came second on the list with one in 29 people being homeless, or a total number of 9,717.

Neighbouring borough Barking and Dagenham was eighth highest in the table (one in 37), while Tower Hamlets was ninth (one in 41).

Overall, 164,400 people are currently recorded as homeless in London. Shelter has called the figures “shocking”.

Its London hub manager, Connie Cullen, said: “On a daily basis, we speak to people and families who are desperately trying to escape the devastating trap of homelessness. A trap that is tightening thanks to decades of failure to build enough affordable homes and the impact of welfare cuts.”

Councillor Terence Paul, mayoral advisor for housing, said: “These figures from Shelter underline the challenges we face with the housing crisis which has been exacerbated by the government’s welfare reforms. We have taken a proactive approach to tackling homelessness, introducing a number of innovative solutions to provide more homes and improve the quality of affordable accommodation.

“These homelessness statistics include families housed in 1,450 Local Space properties. Local Space is a not-for-profit company we set up to provide a sustainable and quality form of temporary accommodation. It has been a huge success with an agreement to expand by a further 800 homes which will be made available to homeless families. Our private sector licensing scheme ensures rogue landlords are prosecuted and has improved the private sector offer. We have also set up a company which will provide genuinely affordable homes. With rough sleeping, we take a balanced approach tackling the issue in an appropriate, humane and fair way, taking enforcement action when necessary.

“However, there’s only so much we can do. Local authorities like Newham need the resources and flexibility to invest in housing which is genuinely affordable for those on the lowest incomes. We also call on the government to immediately renew our private rented sector licensing scheme, enabling us to improve standards in the sector and hold rogue landlords to account. Fairer government funding is also needed to ensure outer London boroughs like Newham are not left to deal with this housing pressure. The government must work closely with London authorities to find a solution to this housing crisis.”

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