Newham’s plea over homelessness funding

NEWHAM COUNCIL has joined forces with two other London Boroughs to call for an urgent review into homelessness funding.

Along with Enfield and Haringey Councils, the Town Hall has requested a meeting with housing minister Grant Shapps about how London’s annual Homelessness Grant is allocated.

The three boroughs argue that having some of the highest levels of homelessness in the capital, they receive the lowest amount of funding.

They say this problem will get worse as impending changes to the housing benefit system are expected to drive people into outer London boroughs.

Currently Westminster, Lambeth, Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham, Southwark and Kensington and Chelsea receive 65 per cent of London’s Homelessness Grant but accommodate only 18 per cent of London’s households in temporary accommodation.

Haringey, Newham and Enfield are accommodating 24 per cent of London’s 37,900 households in temporary accommodation but are receiving, between them, just three percent (�650,000) of London’s Homelessness Grant.

The government is planning on continuing with this system for the next four years.

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Cllr Claire Kober, leader of Haringey Council, speaking on behalf of all three councils, said: “We are dismayed by the Government’s decision to continue with a homelessness grant funding regime that is neither fair nor based on any evidence of relative need.

“We cannot understand why the Government is unwilling or unable to take into account the scale of each borough’s homelessness problem and the resources we are already investing in tackling homelessness when determining the amount of grant each London borough should receive.”

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokeswoman responded saying: “With nearly half of those sleeping rough in London doing so in Westminster it is right that a considerable share of the Capital’s homelessness funding is awarded to the city council.

“However like all councils Haringey, Enfield and Newham are set to receive a share of �400million Homelessness Grant funding announced in the recent Spending Review. And like all London councils, these three have also received a share of �10million transition funding as the forthcoming housing benefit reforms are put into place.”

She added that Mr Shapps would respond to the letter “in due course”.