Councils, particularly those in London, are choosing to tackle a shortage of affordable social housing by investing in accommodation in other parts of the country.
A freedom of information request in September 2015 showed 26 out of 33 London councils moved homeless households to other parts of the South East of England. Eight councils also moved people into temporary accommodation in the Midlands and the North of England, the figures showed.
Government research states there are more than 1.8 million households waiting for a social home – an increase of 81% since 1997, with demand increasing year on year.
The housing and homeless charity, Shelter, suggests more needs to be done to tackle the lack of availability of social housing. It states that we should be aiming to build around 250,000 homes per year to reach demand and the country is currently building approximately half of this target.
Moving people away from their communities can often leave the people involved without their vital support networks of friends and family. Many also have to leave behind their children’s schools and their jobs. All of this clearly would have a massive impact on the families involved and such accommodation offered may not always be suitable.
Offers of accommodation from the local authority should be suitable for the applicant and their family’s needs. If the accommodation offered is not suitable the applicant can apply for a review of the suitability of the accommodation and if the review is successful alternative suitable accommodation must be offered.
Stephensons has a specialist housing team who can provide advice and assistance regarding homelessness. If you, or anyone you know is in need of assistance, contact our housing law team on 0175 321 6399.
By Laura Mattimore