1000% Increase In Homeless Families Rehoused Outside London

robin hood gardensLondon’s social housing crisis has led to a 1000% increase in families with school-age children being rehoused outside of the capital.

Using figures obtained from Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, London Assembly member Darren Johnson says that the number has risen from 21 in 2010/11 to 222 in the first three quarters of 2013/14. Within London boroughs, the figures show a rise from 1,428 in 2010/11 to 2,687  in the same period. Darren Johnson said:

“Instead of supporting cuts to benefits for the low paid, disabled and jobseekers, the Mayor should be driving down rents by regulating the private rented sector and building more social housing. That would reduce the benefit bill and make London more affordable for everyone.”

While there’s only a certain amount that Boris Johnson can do about welfare reforms handed down by central government, we’ve written often enough about the impact of failing to build enough social and (not that) affordable housing. Tom Copley AM put that very question to Johnson in this week’s Mayor’s Question Time (MQT) and the response, which you can see here, made us want to pull our own hair out, especially the bit when the mayor confuses social housing with affordable housing.

Meanwhile, 2014 has seen an increase in people made homeless after being unable to afford rent increases. Not to mention the utterly ludicrous situation where councils are unable to borrow money to build but instead have to find millions to pay for emergency housing when people are made homeless. It is a disgraceful waste of public money. And it’s only March.

Last year we wrote about a campaign by mothers housed in Newham’s Focus E15 hostel who faced being rehoused up to 200 miles away. In January this year, they occupied Newham council’s offices and an East Thames Housing Association show flat in protest at their evictions. Back in 2010, Boris Johnson said to the London Assembly:

“Where people have put down roots and where they have family obligations such as sending their kids to school I think you have got to be very, very careful… I do not think… it is conservatism to say to people, ‘We are going to have a policy of uprooting you from your home in short order’.”

Photo by Gary Kinsman in the Londonist Flickr pool.

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  • Deborah Huntley

    Why. Can’t the housing departments afford to renovate existing rentals such as the flat complexes on Walworth Rd in Southwark? We were living in a run down hostel while hundreds of flats were boarded up and left vacant. I know this is not an isolated case and that there are many others around. Do no funds get allocated to their upkeep or what??????

    • Southwark Notes

      Because they are demolishing them to make way for lots of private houses unaffordable to any local people. The tenants and residents have long been displaced hither and thither.


      • Richard

        But affordable to other people who have developed skills that are valued in London, who probably work very hard at their jobs, and contribute lots to the economy.
        I hope that people who want to do real good will set up businesses hither and thither that make use of the pool of lower cost human resources that are gathering there.

        • C. Dickens

          Wow Richard. No empathy in your life then. It’s just a lot of feckless no hopers being moved away to make way for more industrious people? The less fortunate are just ‘lower cost human resources’ and roll on London becoming a luxury to only be enjoyed by those who know how to make big bucks or grow silly facial hair. You’d better watch out this Christmas. You might be visited by three ghosts.

        • BethPH

          As C. Dickens points out, I think you’ve made a reasonably valid point very poorly. Cities need a thriving mix of people and it’s a massive oversimplification to imply that only the skilled and highly-paid are valuable to the economy. The mistake a lot of people make is to assume that mostly benefit claimants are affected by London’s housing crisis. In fact, Rachel Holdsworth’s article today (link below) highlights how the the city’s economy can be affected by housing problems, high rent and low pay.


          • Richard

            I agree about the problems of high rent and low pay. Building more homes for the private market increases supply and helps to bring down rents for everybody. If lower paid people can’t afford to live in London then there are less people available to do the lower paid jobs. To attract the staff they need employers have to pay more and, consequently, pay increases. If we just get out of the way of the market these adjustments can happen more quickly and efficiently.

          • Gerald.Wright

            Strange how at no time in the past has this ever happened,the low paid just get pushed into lower and lower standards of living,without local councils and government building housing London will be back to how it was before the war,with working people living in slums because of people with attitudes like yours and the greed of landlords,that old Tory “trickle down effect” bull.