Councils across England are placing a growing number of homeless households in temporary accommodation outside their areas, in some cases more than 200 miles away, according to an analysis.
London councils have placed around 55,000 people in temporary accommodation outside the area (Photo: Getty)
More than one in four households living in temporary accommodation are now moved to other areas, the analysis found.
Around 55,000 people are living at any time in temporary out-of-zone accommodation provided by local authorities in London.
The analysis was carried out by the London Labor Housing Group and is based on Freedom of Information Act requests and publicly available data.
Barnet and Bexley councils have provided shelter to homeless people as far as Manchester, while Barking & Dagenham council has placed households in Bradford – both towns are around 200 miles from the capital.
Last summer, Merton’s council was censored by the local government ombudsperson after a man the local authority placed in temporary accommodation in Birmingham was forced to quit his job due to the three-hour commute .
The use of temporary out-of-zone accommodation by local authorities in the rest of England is also increasing.
When the coalition government came to power in 2010, around 10% of temporarily housed households across the country were moved out of their area.
By 2020, that percentage had risen to around 27%, alongside a well-documented overall increase in the use of temporary housing.
Between 2015/16 and 2020/21, the proportion of out-of-zone temporary placements by London councils as a percentage of the national total increased from 92% to 84%.
The number of out-of-zone placements across England is now 161% higher than when overall use of temporary accommodation peaked in 2004.
London’s Labor Housing Group has said that at the current rate of increase, a third of all out-of-zone placements will be made by non-London councils within a decade.
The group calls on the government to increase local housing allowance rates, which dictate the amount of benefits private tenants can claim to help with their housing costs, and to give councils more funds to fight homelessness. shelter.
Jack Shaw, author of the research, said: “It’s a perfect storm. Cuts in housing allowances and local authority budgets, as well as the inability to build the necessary housing, are forcing municipalities to relocate families elsewhere.
“At the same time, there is real concern about the well-being of foster families – up to a third of them are vulnerable – hundreds of kilometers away from their support networks, doctors and schools for children.
“The government must act urgently to protect families by properly funding homeless assistance in London and increasing local housing allowance.
“Temporary housing outside the area has already been described by the homeless households as a stealth social clean-up. This could be the next coating scandal to come if the government does not act.
The law requires councils to accommodate people in their home area whenever possible.
Spending on temporary accommodation services across England is estimated at almost £ 1bn per year, with around £ 200m falling out of general local authority funds and the rest paid for through housing allowances .
The government has released £ 750million in funding this year to try to tackle homelessness and rough sleep.