Due to a massive lack of council housing and high rents demanded by private landlords, a borough in London has revealed their plan to offer homeless people a roof over their head outside its area. Conservative run Croydon Council claim the capping of LHA (Local Housing Allowance) means that a large number of private landlords are refusing to take any tenant who is in receipt of housing benefit.
The Council revealed that there has been a 37% increase in homeless people in the borough in the last twelve months, which has led to a huge number of people being put into bed & breakfast accommodation because of a shortage of private rented homes. The council have also confirmed that households that have ‘no overriding need’ to be in Croydon could be offered accommodation outside the borough, and that a number of regions have already been identified as possible alternatives. The plan is to use only registered landlords who have had no complaints made against them and whose properties comply with all regulations including landlord insurance and Energy Performance Certificates.
Councillor Dudley Mead, cabinet member for housing finance and asset management, said “Unfortunately, it’s an incontrovertible fact that we don’t have enough spare capacity in Croydon for the number of homeless people asking the council for help. Obviously, we’d like to be able to offer everybody who comes to us exactly the accommodation, in the area of their choice, they ask for. Sadly, that isn’t possible, and this joint venture with other authorities offers homeless households somewhere to live on a temporary basis.”
Earlier this year, Newham council wrote to around 1,000 housing associations as far away as Stoke in an effort to find housing for five-hundred families. As part of the coalition localism reforms, local councils will be able to help homeless people by offering them a home in the private rented sector. Anyone who refuses the offer will find that the council are no longer under a duty of care to find them accommodation. However, the Government has made it clear to all councils that it will not be acceptable to offer rental accommodation hundreds of miles away.