Hackney reduces homelessness but remains among worst 10 boroughs in the country

Homelessness in Hackney Pic: Isabel Togoh

Homelessness in Hackney has reduced by 21 per cent over the past year but the borough still remains among the 10 worst in the country, according to the most recent report from the national charity Shelter.

The charity’s report Far from Alone: Homelessness in Britain 2017 mapped the top 50 areas with the highest levels of homelessness in the country, ranking Hackney at number 10. The numbers reveal that 1 in 44 people are currently without a lasting home in Hackney, with roughly 6,167 homeless people in the borough.

However, these figures have seen a decrease from those reported last year. According to a similar document by Shelter released in December 2016, Hackney was reported to have 7,774 total homeless people, ranking it as the sixth worst borough for homelessness in the country.

Homelessness in Hackney infographic. Pic: Sophia Ankel

Mike Toms, manager of the North London Action for the Homeless (NLAH) in Stoke Newington said: “These numbers for Hackney are not surprising at all. It just goes to show the continuing long delays in people getting accepted for benefits, clients with chaotic lifestyles and mental health provision being cut, as well as the increasing gentrification that leads to less cheap accommodation in the borough. I suppose, in a nutshell, this is austerity aimed at the most vulnerable in society.”

Toms continued: “Our organisation alone, which is still one of the smaller ones in Hackney, has seen our numbers double from 2012 to today.”

‘Homelessness’, according to Shelter’s official definition, includes people that are “rough sleepers, single people in hostels, households owed a statutory homeless duty by a local authority, or homeless households being accommodated by social services.”

The Shelter report, which used official government statistics, named Newham, Haringey, and Westminster consecutively as the three boroughs with the highest numbers of homelessness in the country. Tower Hamlets was ninth on the list, Lewisham 12th, and Croydon 16th.

These numbers continue to reflect the on-going housing crisis in London. Hackney has become an increasingly popular place to live, with housing affordability becoming a recent top concern for residents.

In response to the report, Councillor Rebecca Rennison, Hackney Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Housing Needs said: “With around 3,000 of the 13,000 households on our housing waiting list, we’re all too aware of the housing crisis facing Hackney, and we strongly welcome Shelter shining a light on the full extent of these problems nationwide.”

Attributing the improvement to the many programmes that the borough has been running she said: “In Hackney we are already doing what we can bringing hundreds of empty homes back into use, delivering one of the biggest programmes of Council house building in the country, and taking action to support Hackney’s 32,000 private tenants through our #BetterRenting campaign.

“But national problems need national solutions, and Shelter’s report makes clear how the Government can begin to tackle the situation, starting now. We’d urge them to take notice.”

The council is currently in the midst of completing a regeneration programme, which is forecast to deliver 2,485 new homes in the area. Another 275 homes will also be refurbished to a 30-year life standard.

Twitter: @sophiankel

Email: sanke002@gold.ac.uk

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