Rise in Croydon homelessness down to parents ‘throwing’ out children, says housing councillor

pic: Jessica Mulley

The recent rise of homelessness in Croydon is down to parents “throwing” their children out of their homes, claims Croydon Councillor, Dudley Mead.

The charity Shelter, which supports people without homes, recently published statistics showing a significant increase in homelessness in Croydon in the last three months.

Mead told EastLondonLines he believes the increase is not down to “mortgage famine”, but “to do with families throwing out their children”.

Mead, Croydon Councilor for Housing, Finance & Asset Management, said: “It is a very worrying situation. We want to reinstate the Reconciliation unit so parents can realise the consequences of their decision making.

“We are trying to get a very serious debate going about the issues surrounding social housing in the area.”

Housing charity, CAYSH, is set up to prevent youth homelessness in Croydon, Greenwich and Sutton. Although the charity supports the comment made by Mead, they claim the situation is not that simplistic.

John Young, Communications Manager for CAYSH, said: “Dudley Mead is right to an extent. A major cause of young people becoming homeless is family breakdown, where young people grow up at a pace that parents don’t find comfortable. But is not that simplistic, there are lots of reasons parent and children fall out.

“But the pressing question is how to monitor young people’s wider support network, and manage this with education, and training. The concern for CAYSH is to find the most secure and stable place, and to make sure they are housed safely.”

Statistics from Shelter show 147 households in Croydon have been declared homeless; an increase of 23 households in the past three months. Since January 2010, Croydon has seen a rise of 39 households being accepted as homeless, the highest increase in the EastLondonLines boroughs.

source: Shelter

With the number of people on Croydon Council’s housing waiting list outweighing the number of properties in the area by 10 to one, the housing situation is pushed further into crisis due to the high percentage of properties lying empty.Despite the council receiving many offers from property developers in Manchester, Walstall and other areas around the country to provide housing units to ease Croydon’s housing situation, Mead states a decision to house people outside the borough will not happen before Christmas, but it is something the council will look into next year.

Mead suggests the way forward to tackle homelessness in Croydon is for landlords in the borough to rent out their unused properties. He states the council has managed to reduce the number of empty properties owned by landlords to 2,000, but the main concern remains the huge number of vacant large flats above shops.

Statistics from Shelter charity show 1,545 homeless families in Croydon will spend Christmas in temporary accommodation, the second highest number in the EastLondonLines boroughs, with Tower Hamlets having the highest number at 1,780.

Campbell Robb, Chief Executive for Shelter said: “We know only too well that being made homeless, or living each day under the constant threat of homelessness, is a horrific experience that can tear families apart. That’s why we need everyone’s support in the coming months, so we can help all those people who face the possibility of losing their home and make sure it doesn’t happen to them.”

For more information on homelessness in Croydon visit www.caysh.org/diz.

For general information visit: http://england.shelter.org.uk/home

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