Temporary housing in Croydon has come under criticism after an undercover Dispatches reporter claims to have found hotels in bad conditions.
Over 300 homeless Croydon families are currently housed in bed and breakfast accommodation, including the hotel in question.
Dispatches: Landlords from Hell, which aired on Monday, sent an undercover reporter to The Apollo Guest House in Thornton Heath, Croydon. The reporter paid £30 for a night in The Apollo Guest House, but claims she found mould and fungus on the carpets, a broken lock on the room door, stains on the bed, and bed bugs.
Emergency accommodation should only be used to house homeless people for up to 6 weeks but Channel 4’s reporter claims one mother had been living in the Apollo Guest House for over a year.
Bill Rashleigh, working at homeless charity Shelter, reacting to the documentary, said: “The conditions are absolutely atrocious, there’s no justification for people living in accommodation like that. They are not permitted to put families in there.”
Yinka Adedeji, from the Apollo Guest House, said the conditions described by the undercover reporter are “totally at odds with our observations and reports from the local authority on the satisfactory state of the property.”
Reacting to the programme, Croydon Council said: “None of the three cases highlighted to us by Dispatches were placed in the hotels by Croydon Council’s housing services. Two have since been moved to alternative accommodation. The hotels are used to place a small number of individuals, not families, and as a last resort in extreme circumstances where other options have broken down or are not suitable for the people concerned. We inspect both regularly under the Housing Act and take any appropriate action. Legislation states that management must ensure all furniture and living accommodation is fit and clean before a person moves in, but following occupation responsibility lies with the occupier.”
There is a lack of temporary housing in Croydon, with over 1600 people in such accommodation. Homelessness in Croydon has reached such a peak that the council are even considering moving families to northern towns which EastLondonLines reported on last week.