Plans to relocate homeless households to areas outside London because a shortage of accommodation have been revived by Croydon Council.
The proposals, due to go to a meeting of the Conservative-controlled Council’s Cabinet on Monday, are the result of a shortage of council-owned housing and high rents demanded by private landlords, according to authority officials.
In a joint scheme with Richmond, Kingston and Sutton councils, Croydon is looking to find 150 properties outside London, with the location depending on a ‘number of factors’.
The use of temporary housing has risen by 36 per cent during the last year, and households accommodated in emergency bed-and-breakfast climbed by 200 per cent.
The Council said the situation is expected to deteriorate further and that it would take up a majority of the 150 properties.
As reported by EastLondonLines in November last year, 1,600 families in Croydon faced homelessness, with 300 of them living in bed-and-breakfasts accommodation. As of May this year, the number of households in bed-and-breakfast had risen to 429.
Councillor Dudley Mead, cabinet member for Housing, Finance and Asset Management, said it was an “incontrovertible fact” that the council did not have enough spare capacity for the numbers of people asking for help, and that public serves at present are under ‘huge financial strain’.
He said: “Obviously, we’d like to be able to offer everybody who comes to us exactly the accommodation, in the area of their choice, they ask for. Sadly, that isn’t possible, and this joint venture with other authorities offers homeless households somewhere to live on a temporary basis.”
Last year, Mead suggested moving homeless families to northern towns would be ‘certainly cheaper and have more availability’, however it emerged the authorities of the towns in question had not been approached about the scheme.
The council told EastLondonLines it could not confirm which locations were being considered this time.
Statistics released in December last year by homeless charity Shelter showed the number of people on Croydon Council’s housing waiting list outweighing the number of properties in the area by 10 to one.
Jad Adams, Chair of Nightwatch, a charity providing support for homeless people in Croydon, said the proposal was a ‘limited solution’ and that lack of low priced accommodation was to blame.
He said: “Part of this is that there hasn’t been enough affordable housing built for decades – there is new-build, but developers have wanted to go for the more lucrative high-end deals.”
He said while the proposal was ‘just a contribution’ and would not solve the housing problem, it could be a positive solution for those happy to re-locate.