Eight sheltered accommodation blocks used to house Havering's homeless
PUBLISHED: 15:00 12 September 2014
Homeless families across Havering are being housed in guest rooms at eight sheltered accommodation blocks meant for relatives of elderly residents, it has emerged.
The policy chief at housing charity, Crisis, says placing families in inappropriate accommodation is “not the answer” and is further evidence of London’s “housing crisis”.
Last week, the Recorder reported that a mother and her four young children had been “shoehorned” into a room in Sunrise Lodge, Sunrise Avenue, Hornchurch, to the horror of existing residents.
But we can reveal that the extent of using sheltered accommodation is larger than previously thought.
Eight such homes have been used since August 28 in an unprecedented approach to emergency housing.
Crisis’ head of policy and campaigns Katharine Sacks-Jones said: “This latest example is further evidence of the depth of London’s housing crisis.
“Across the capital, thousands are struggling to keep a roof over their heads. Rough sleeping has doubled in the last six years.
“Councils placing people in inappropriate overcrowded accommodation is not the answer.
“Instead, the government must urgently review the impact its cuts to housing benefit are having on people’s ability to find somewhere to live and, together with the Mayor, focus on building the genuinely affordable homes to rent we so badly need.”
At least two other sheltered accommodation units have been approached to house the homeless.
A Havering Council spokesman said that the rise in homelessness was due to landlords in the council’s Private Sector Leasing (PSL) scheme ending their contracts and selling due to rising house prices.
The scheme sees Havering lease private housing and then rent it to social tenants.
The council’s housing boss Cllr Damian White defended the scheme, saying: “It currently ensures that over 500 households which would otherwise be homeless in the borough have a home.
“We have not been able to find immediate places for less than 10 families recently and decided to house them in our sheltered accommodation so that they can stay in the borough.”