Homelessness Reduction Act to hit Labour-run councils hard, including Harrow

homelessMuch publicised Tory Homelessness Reduction Act, instigated by Harrow East MP Bob Blackman, comes nowhere near addressing the wider factors that are increasing homelessness, such as the lack of affordable housing for low income households and welfare reforms.
What the Act demands the councils to do is very difficult for them to deliver :  for example, virtually all (94%) London boroughs, report that helping homeless people to find a self-contained private rental is “very difficult” because of the combined effects of rising rents and welfare benefit restrictions, particularly frozen Local Housing Allowance rates. What the councils can’t deliver could be politically used against them at the council elections next year.
The Homelessness Reduction Act is creating false expectations and introducing massive extra bureaucracy into the work we already do to assist homeless households, while not creating any extra accommodation” said the Harrow head of housing needs Jon Dalton.
Similarly, building more homes won’t solve the housing crisis because the supply can’t meet much increased demand created by the government’s hard hitting socio-economic and welfare policies.
All this puts Labour-run councils, including Harrow, under far more pressure because of the deprivation factor and harsh welfare reforms, resulting in more challenging housing situations.
We are building the first new council homes in a generation and looking to purchase private properties to rent; neither of these options will meet the current demand for housing” says the Harrow council.
Access to housing remains a particular problem for homeless people because the welfare reform has been making both private landlords and housing associations more risk averse with regard to letting to households in receipt of benefits.
Homelessness pressures are mounting because of the increasing gap between actual rents and housing benefit (due to welfare reform)” points out Jon Dalton.
Harrow accepted 292 homeless cases so far this year compared with 388 last year. There are 329 homeless in temporary accommodation in borough and 47 outside borough – leading groups in the accommodations are white, followed by Asians and Black Africans.
Total on waiting list for council accommodation at 07/12/17 is 1995 – average waiting time for being re-housed in permanent accommodation varies:
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