Homeless Westminster families offered housing 54 miles away
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Local Government
Homeless Westminster families rehoused 54 miles away
Homeless families in Westminster are being offered accommodation as distant as Bletchley - 54 miles away.
The latest figures show that homelessness applications have increased in the London borough, which is now seeing an average of 121 submissions in a 12-month period. Families are also being offered homes in Hemel Hempstead (26 miles away), Grays (23 miles) and Maidstone (38 miles).
Westminster City Council Labour Group has blamed the swell in homeless cases on the Government's benefit caps, which, it claims, have meant that families cannot find accommodation in the private rented sector. The Group says that the council's interpretation of affordable housing means that fewer lower rented properties are being made available to low income families.
Westminster's problems are currently being mirrored in the nearby borough of Barking and Dagenham, where the council is looking at moving homeless families to cheaper areas or allocating them flats in tower blocks.
Councillor Guthrie McKie, Labour Spokesperson for Housing, said: “Here is clear evidence that the Housing Benefit caps are hitting the poorest families who cannot afford to pay market rents for accommodation in the private rented sector. These families are now being shipped up to 30 miles away from their local communities, families and friends. The high cost of travel will make it difficult to maintain these vital contacts. The recent announcement from the Coalition Government allowing developers to ignore the affordable housing in their applications for housing is sad news for the thousands of families in desperate need of a decent home.”
Cllr Jonathan Glanz, Westminster City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Corporate Property, said: “We always work to provide homes for families on housing waiting lists within Westminster. However, when suitable accommodation cannot be found within the borough, particularly if the family requires a larger property or has no established link to the area, we seek to place them within London or as close to London as possible. These cases very much remain the minority, but the homes we offer are affordable with excellent transport links into central London.”