London borough 'worst by far' for number of households in temporary accommodation

New high rise apartment block towers over an old terrace of low rise homes at the heart of Canary Wharf financial district
People are said to be left 'stuck' in temporary housing for years -Credit:Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images

Research has shown that the people in 60,000 households in London are homeless and living in temporary accommodation (TA). This includes how many are in non-permanent housing in city boroughs, with one area standing out.

Trust of London says, when someone becomes homeless, their local authority has a duty to provide accommodation. While waiting for a home, people are often housed in TA.

Experts say, however, that people can be 'stuck' in TA for years. Now, the trust has used data comes from the Government - which counts households rather than individuals - to publish a breakdown of the latest figures according to their location.

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Local data

It suggests that Newham has the highest proportion of residents in TA 'by far', suggesting that, for every 1,000 households in the borough, 50 are homeless and living in TA. But 'in just about every borough, the problem is acute', researchers say.

Trust for London highlights that every London borough there is publicly available data for, except Hounslow, has a higher proportion of households in TA than the England average. And in nine London boroughs, the proportion of residents in TA is 'five times higher' than in the rest of England.

The organisation said on X: "Since 2011 the number of households in TA in London has increased significantly. In 2022 – the last year we have full data for – 57,000 households were in TA, 51 per cent higher than 10 years ago. The data from the first three quarters of 2023 suggests this is set to increase again."

It added: "By another estimate based on surveys of local authorities by @londoncouncils, the number of individuals in TA is much higher: 170,000. That’s 1 Londoner for every 50, and 1 child in every classroom."

The trust says that, most frequently, councils use the private rented sector to provide TA. But, 'as a last resort', it reports that councils are increasingly using bed and breakfasts.

These 'often lack proper space for families and are unsuitable as long-term homes'. Researchers suggest that 5,290 households were living in 'B&B-style accommodation' as TA in the third quarter of 2023 – 25 per cent more than at the start of the year, and 121 per cent more than a decade ago.

Rough sleeping in London 'up by a third'

It comes after analysis by London borough councils claimed that social rent levels set by the Government will leave the city with a 'black hole' in their social housing finances of up to £700 million over the next four years. In addition, new homelessness figures have revealed that rough sleeping in London has increased by more than a third.

The 33 per cent surge has been called a 'humanitarian crisis' by a housing provider. The data, released by the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN), covers January to March 2024. In total, 4,118 people were recorded as rough sleeping between January and March 2024.

A homeless man on a London street with shop display in the background
Rough sleeping in London is on the up -Credit:Facundo Arrizabalaga

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced during the launch of his campaign to be re-elected on May 2 a pledge to build 40,000 new council homes in London by 2030. The mayor has also warned that London will not be able to supply enough affordable houses for residents for years if more Government cash is not forthcoming.

Mr Khan claims that 'Government investment is not enough, meaning that affordable housebuilding in the capital will be below the level required to house all Londoners who need it for years to come'. The mayor has also repeated his call for £2.2 billion from Westminster in 'urgent investment' in new social and 'genuinely affordable homes', which is backed by private, public and non-profit housebuilders across the capital.

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson told MyLondon at the time: “These claims are misleading. We have allocated £4 billion to the Greater London Authority to deliver affordable housing in London as part of our wider £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme, and last year saw the highest year on record for affordable housing delivery across the country, with a 12% increase in starts to the previous year."

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