Family homelessness rises ‘dramatically’ in London
Family homelessness is rising in London at a faster rate than across the rest of the country and overstretched councils are ‘struggling’ to provide them with temporary accommodation, new research reveals.
Carried out by the advisory services organisation EY and London Councils, the research found the number of families accepted as homeless has increased by 51% since 2011 compared with the national equivalent of 15%.
It also discovered gross cost of temporary accommodation reached £663m in 2014-15 and the level of spend met by London boroughs from their own general funds can be estimated at just over one quarter of that cost (£170m).
The research showed the length of time families were staying in temporary accommodation was particularly long in the capital, especially for private sector stays.
Nearly 29% of families in temporary accommodation had spent less than six months in temporary accommodation, 61% had spent less than two years and 21% had spent five or more years there.
EY and London Councils are teaming up to create London Ventures, an innovation programme, which will focus on how the public, private and third sectors can work together to support London’s public services challenges, including combatting homelessness.
Edward Lord OBE, chair of the London Ventures board, said: ‘People become and stay homeless for a whole range of complex and overlapping reasons and solving homelessness is about much more than putting a roof over people’s heads.
‘Councils are facing unprecedented challenges in the coming years and we know from experience that collaborative and co-operative working with other sectors can provide innovative solutions to these challenges.’
Neil Sartorio, head of local public services at EY, said: ‘Homelessness is not only a social problem, but has a wider detrimental effect on public finances and businesses and organisations simply cannot sit idly by.
‘By using partnering with the public and third sector, we can provide the environment to test new ideas and approaches quickly with financial support and resources.
‘We can also share the latest innovations in technology and our insights gleaned from working with our clients to help reduce overall costs and improve effectiveness of these vital services.’
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