Call for fully funded services to address homelessness in London

Government urged to give the capital “adequate funding” of around £77m a year – according to  estimates.

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Ahead of new data on homelessness due out this week, London Councils is calling on central Government to enable the capital’s boroughs to boost homelessness prevention and support services.

London Councils, the membership group representing the 32 London boroughs and the City of London, is urging Government to properly fund the expansion of these services described in the Homelessness Reduction Act, which will cost at least £77m per year in London.

However Government has only allocated £10m per year to the capital, despite the fact that 70% of homeless households in England are based in London – more than 54,000 individuals and families.

Delaying implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act until September 2018 would also be welcomed as it would allow boroughs to make essential changes to their housing teams, including recruiting additional staff if needed.

Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, London Councils’ Executive member for housing, said the Homelessness Reduction Act had the potential to transform prevention and relief services – with the boroughs committed to helping more people at an earlier stage to prevent and address homelessness.

“However, we fear that inadequate funding for the Homelessness Reduction Act in London, as well as the unrealistic timescale for making changes to existing services, risks leaving thousands of vulnerable people without support.

“We urge Government to take our concerns on board and give London boroughs adequate funding – £77m a year according to our estimates – and additional time to deliver these much-needed services for Londoners at risk of homelessness or currently living in temporary accommodation.

“Ultimately London also needs a significant boost in the supply of new homes available to rent and to buy, as well as the removal of the Local Housing Allowance cap, in order to tackle the root causes of homelessness.”

This month the UK’s largest temporary accommodation development providing 290 additional homes before Christmas will open in London.

The development in Acton is the latest step to address emergency housing in the capital.

London needs 66,000 new homes a year to meet estimated need need and many of the spaces to build on are complex brownfield sites.

Added to this 14,400 households between April and June 2017 were considered homeless and 78,000 households in the same period in temporary accommodation, up 7% from the previous year.

Meath Court, in Hope Gardens, Acton, is a 60 apartment development created using offsite manufactured homes (OSM).

The development includes communal space, onsite management office, laundry and refuse storage and will house young families and low-income individuals in need of immediate emergency accommodation.

Constructed in 24 weeks by property company, QED, the development is made up of a kit of moveable and reusable parts of UK produced shipping containers, providing an immediate solution to the short-term accommodation need.

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