The House of Commons Library data has today revealed that the number of households accepted as homeless by all London boroughs rose from 12,720 in 2011/12 to 17,530 in 2014/15 — up 38 per cent. The rise is 12 per cent from the 2012/13 figure of 15,660.
Since 2012 Whitehall has slashed the Homeless Prevention Grant given to London town halls by a total of £5,171,000.
Outer London boroughs were the hardest-hit, with Barking and Dagenham’s grant down by 31 per cent. Bromley’s grant reduced by 21 per cent, Greenwich by 31 per cent and Haringey by 21 per cent. Lewisham had a 27 per cent reduction in its grant.
But while grants are being cut, many councils face rising costs for placing homeless people in bed-and-breakfasts as funds for social housing are reduced. Last year there were 9,730 households put up in B&Bs, of which 4,550 had children.
Lee Dribben, CEO for The Ashley Foundation, based in Blackpool, said: “While the Government is reducing social housing grants and as a result forcing more people onto the street, local government is racking up costs for taxpayers who will ultimately pay the bills for expensive B&B accommodation not to mention the associated increases in health and other services.”
“Dealing with homelessness as an emergency creates conditions that mimic an emergency,” Dribben added.
“The answer is to properly fund programmes run by private charities, like The Ashley Foundation, which focus on the long-term resolutions to homelessness, not the short term fix,” Dribben explained.
The Ashley Foundation (TAF) is a registered homeless charity, established in 1997 for the purpose of providing accommodation and support to ‘homeless individuals in need’. Committed to treating individuals with dignity and respect, TAF is determined to offer the opportunity and the support necessary to encourage and enable personal growth and self-development. There are many and varied reasons why people become homeless. Relationship breakdown, domestic violence, young people asked to leave home, people with drug and alcohol or mental health issues who are unable to sustain an independent lifestyle and more recently due to recession, where someone might lose their job and are then are unable to pay their mortgage or rent, the list goes on and on. Helping someone to rebuild relationships with family or friends, stay in education, take up employment and training opportunities or deal with their drug and alcohol or mental health problem is as much about tackling homelessness as is securing a roof over their head. For more information visit https://www.theashleyfoundation.org.uk.