Shelter, in partnership with council boroughs as well as Government Department of Communities and Local Government, reports that around 307,000 people that are local to London are homeless. This is an increase year over year, with many parts of the city devastated by homelessness in the community.
Not only has homelessness been increasing, but so has the number of people living in temporary accommodations. This includes hostels and shelters in London. Shelter reports that over 77,000 households do not have a permanent home to live in. The 77,000 households makes up hundreds of thousands of individuals, with tens of thousands of children not have a permanent home to live in. There are many homeless shelters in London, but they are not the same as permanent homes.
There are many reasons for these housing issues. One has to do with lack of new housing being built, and the other has to do with the increasing cost of monthly rent as well as total monthly cost, which is now at £1,556 per month per HomeLet. This is outside the living wage of many families that live in London.
Shelter also reports that welfare cuts are leading to housing challenges. With the transition to Universal Credit, the 4 year freeze on benefits from local housing allowance (LHA) assistance, as well as bedroom taxes and other changes are causing more families on a low income to struggle to pay for their rent. One missed paycheque, or emergency bill, when combined with benefit cuts can lead to a missed rent payment; and then eviction.
The authorities are trying to solve the crisis. In October 2017 the central government announced additional funds to go towards social housing in the UK. The assistance is part of the Affordable Homes Programme, and the total amount available is £9.1 billion. The government funding may help pay for as many as 120,000 new homes throughout London. Local councils, including those listed below, as well as their housing associations will ensure the money gets to the right parts of the city.
2017 Homelessness by borough
All areas are being hit by the crisis. The boroughs with the highest number of women, children, and men that are homeless include the following. They will be priority when it comes to money from the Affordable Homes Programme, though it will take years for the housing to be built.
- Newham has 13,607 people sleeping rough.
- Haringey council reports 9,717 without homes.
- Westminster – 8,054
- Enfield council reports that 10,057 are homeless.
- Kensington and Chelsea borough – 4,401
- Waltham Forest area – 7,634
- Brent – 8,905
- Barking and Dagenham area – 5,578
- Tower Hamlets borough – 7,428
- Hackney area has 6,167 people without a home to live in.
The problem is spread throughout the city of London. Those are only the top 10 boroughs that are impacted. But people in all other parts of the city are sleeping rough as well. Or they are living in shelters, hostels, or even couch surfing with a friend or family member.
Hopefully with the increased visibility being places on London homelessness in 2017, and the £9.1 billion in additional funds being paid out for housing, the crisis will resolve itself. While the homeless problem will never go away, hopefully the number will decrease and more people will find a stable home to live in.