Councils are to house Homeless families from London elsewhere
- 05 Nov
Local authorities in London are preparing to defy ministerial demands and send thousands of homeless families to live in temporary accommodation outside the capital.
In advance of next April's welfare cuts, which are expected to create a surge in the numbers of vulnerable families presenting as homeless, councils are acquiring properties in Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Sussex.
Some are even considering accommodation as far away as Manchester, Hull and Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales.
Research by the Guardian newspaper, shows benefit caps have left many councils facing a ‘practically impossible position', leaving them no option but to seek housing options outside capital, according to some local authority officials.
Some councils are reported to estimate up to a third of families affected by the introduction of the £26,000 benefit cap, the local housing allowance cap and under-occupation penalties- known as the spare room tax - will lose around £100 a week.
Ken Jones, director of housing and strategy at Barking and Dagenham council, east London, said:
It is going to be practically impossible to provide affordable accommodation to meet our homelessness duties in London.
As the pressures increase we will be looking to procure well out of London, and even out of the home counties.
The news comes after Newham LBC's controversial plans in April to export benefit dependent families to cheaper areas of the country such as Stoke-on-Trent, which was described by critics as ‘social cleansing'.
Newham LBC had written to more than 1,000 social housing providers to secure alternative accommodation for households it claims have been priced out of the capital by coalition caps on housing benefits.
At the time former housing minister Grant Shapps criticised Newham and said:
I've just changed the rules to allow local authorities to discharge their homelessness duty using the private rented sector, but I've been absolutely clear in those rules to local authorities that they must take into account the welfare of the tenants in doing so, which includes, for example, not packing them up and sending them off to Stoke.
Government guidance states:
Homeless households may not always be able to stay in their previous neighbourhoods. However, the government considers that it is not acceptable for local authorities to make compulsory placements automatically hundreds of miles away, without having proper regard for the disruption this may cause to those households.
A study by the charity Child Poverty Action Group has suggested councils can expect a raft of legal challenges from homeless residents, who will cite this guidance to argue the offer of accommodation outside the capital is ‘unsuitable' for them because of the impact on their health and children's education.
Source: Local Gov
- 11 Sep
New service to support homeless people in Birmingham
A new dedicated Homeless Street Triage car will be responding to the rising number of calls reporting homelessness, begging and anti-social drinking in the city, reports 24dash.In the last year –...
- 09 Sep
Gym in Kent hopes to improve health and fitness of homeless people
Riverside is a specialist in working with single homeless people to help them get their lives back on track and into accommodation. Their new project, a gymnasium, has been funded by the Riverside...
- 08 Sep
The cost of homelessness in Hackney doubles
Figures have shown that the cost of homelessness in 2009/10 was £3,092,255 compared to £7,167,440 in 2014/15, with a cut on staff spending from £3,239,653 to £2,608,491 reports 24dash.Hackney...
- 04 Sep
Two homelessness services to be investigated
The Scottish Housing Regulator is set to investigate every aspect of services offered by Dumfries and Galloway Council, whilst also examining how homeless people access help and support at Scottish...
- 03 Sep
Homeless project for young people under threat due to cuts
Platform for Life was expected to attract interest from numerous housing associations with its scheme to convert properties into accommodation for young people in further education, training or work,...
- 01 Sep
Charities warns Irish government of homelessness crisis
Social Justice Ireland is calling for a new funding system that will meet the demand and reveal that only 20 council homes for families have been completed within the first three months of this year,...
- 26 Aug
Newspaper office to become a centre for homeless people
The old office for the Doncaster Free Press is being transformed into flats and other facilities for people who are homeless, reports Hold the Front Page. The building is being turned into...
- 20 Aug
Cuts leaving people in Cheltenham needing homelessness support
Bosses at CCP and Cheltenham Borough Council have said the “devastating impact” of benefit cuts in the town are causing issues for many people, report the Gloucestershire Echo.Over the past few...
- 19 Aug
Concern that homelessness in Cambridge is at ‘tipping point’
Not only do figures show a rise in quarterly numbers by 24 households, they also reveal that over 350 cases were placed in temporary accommodation over the last year, which was a rise of 50 cases on...
- 11 Aug
Charities say Wales is “setting an example” for homelessness
A joint report by Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has praised Welsh laws that are trying to address the issues of homelessness, reports the BBC.However they warn that the removal of...
Support Solutions 5th National Housing Support & Social Care Conference 2014 The conference tackled todays issues at provider level, and provided knowledgeable people to present the workshops. A.L - Caraston Hall