HOUSING EMERGENCY -  National, London & local housing policies condemn homeless families in temporary accommodation to wait forever in precarious limbo for a permanent truly affordable home

30 March 2019

 

HOUSING EMERGENCY National government, Mayor of London and local government have no plans at all to provide enough truly affordable permanent homes for rent to house a growing number of homeless families in temporary accommodation. 

 There are about 180 homeless families in temporary accommodation in the Love Lane council estate in North Tottenham, which is scheduled for demolition, in the London Borough of Haringey. Attached is a note to the council from one of those homeless families. There are 4400 such families in the borough, according Trust for London, but the council proposes to build only 1000 new council homes. 

Many homeless families have not had a permanent home for ten years or more. Some have been forced to move several times so disrupting young children's education. 

For example one family I have met, mother employed and father self-employed with two young children, has been compelled by the council to move house for over ten years. They became homeless then; 
  • Their temporary accommodation was repossessed by a mortgage company two months after they moved in,
  • they then had a short-hold tenancy for eight years and were then evicted, 
  • followed by a flat with another tenants’ upstairs toilet leaking into their downstairs kitchen.
  • They were moved into a Homeless Hostel to share with addicted single homeless adults after an eight hour wait in the Housing Office.
  • They have now been moved into a council estate which is due to be demolished. 
  • Their great fear is that they will be forced by law to move on from £90 a week council rent to £300 a week private rent for two bedroomed accommodation.

These low income families are at the mercy of their landlords, who have the right to evict without reason (Section 21), and of council officials, who have the right force them from temporary two bed council accommodation at £90pw rent into paying £300 a week for permanent private accommodation. 

For the health and wellbeing of low-income men, women and children to flourish, the minimum household income must be enough to buy a healthy diet, water, fuel, clothes, transport and other necessities, after rent, council and income taxes are paid; but ever increasing rents and council tax are taking the income needed for food, fuel clothes and other necessities, while landlords cash in on the rising value of land; hence increasing evictions of renters.

THE DAMAGE DONE BY VIABILITY ASSESSMENTS 

The abuse of viability assessments by developers and landowners, including national & local government and the Churches, means that they reduce the amount of social housing when building on scarce public or private land in order to finance private housing and maximise profit. That way the already decimated land available permanently to house families now in temporary accommodation at affordable rents  becomes less and less while their number in England grew by 65% to 79,880 since 2010, 54,540 of whom are in London, according to the House of Commons Library. 

The present state of national and local housing policy condemns a growing number of low income homeless families to wait forever in a precarious limbo for a permanent truly affordable tenancy. The housing crisis has become a national emergency for homeless families in temporary accommodation on top of that of single homeless dieing in the streets.   

Rev Paul Nicolson


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