Lewisham has highest homelessness rates in south east London

The number of people homeless has risen in the past year in what has been branded a “tragic reflection” of both the cost-of-living crisis and a lack of affordable housing.

New research from Shelter shows at least 271,000 people are recorded as homeless in England, including 123,000 children.

Shelter’s detailed analysis of official homelessness figures and responses to a Freedom of Information request shows that one in 208 people in England are without a home.

Of these, 2,400 people are sleeping rough on any given night, 15,000 people are in hostels or supported accommodation and nearly 250,000 are living in temporary accommodation – most of whom are families.

The number of people living in temporary accommodation has risen by 74 per cent in the last 10 years – something Shelter argues is driven by the chronic shortage of social homes, and an over-reliance on grossly expensive and unstable private renting.

Figures from Shelter have found that Lewisham has the highest number of homeless people across south east London – this includes people sleeping on the streets or in temporary accommodation.

There are an estimation of 7,293 people homeless and living in temporary accommodation in Lewisham arranged the council.

The number of homeless children living in temporary accommodation in Lewisham is 3,885.

Shelter figures also revealed there are around seven people sleeping on the Lewisham streets on a given night.

Across the whole of London, Lewisham is ranked in sixth place – Newham has the highest number of homeless people with an estimated 16,568 living in temporary accommodation.

The latest statistics came just a day after the Prince of Wales announced the first of the flagship areas where he hopes to end homelessness with his new Homewards project.

William said he was “excited” to be launching the five-year initiative, with the London borough of Lambeth among six locations where new partnerships will be forged between councils, businesses, charities and individuals aiming to make homelessness something that is rare, brief and unrepeated.


The legal definition of homelessness is that a household has no home available and reasonable to occupy.

Rough sleeping is one kind of homelessness, with other situations including someone in temporary accommodation, living in inadequate housing, or staying with family and friends in what is known as sofa-surfing.

Homelessness charity St Mungo’s called on the Government to increase housing benefit “so it properly reflects the true cost of renting”.

Its chief executive, Emma Haddad, said: “The increase in the number of people experiencing street homelessness in London is a tragic reflection of the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and the severe lack of affordable housing.

“The shrinking supply of affordable homes in the private rented sector, and the chronic undersupply of social housing, means people are struggling to find and keep somewhere to live.”

She added that without “immediate intervention the number of people sleeping rough will continue to rise”.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan described the rise in people sleeping rough on London’s streets as “extremely alarming” and said that despite previous progress “extraordinary financial pressures are putting the poorest Londoners at growing risk of homelessness”.

He said ministers must “get a grip on the cost-of-living crisis and restore the social security safety net which stops people becoming trapped in a cycle of homelessness”.

He added: “They must also invest in new council and genuinely affordable homes and restore London Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of market rents.

“Ministers should also give me the power to introduce a system of rent controls that work for London.”


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