The number of people suffering homelessness in Lewisham has gone up again, according to new figures from Shelter.
The homeless charity published its annual report, which analyses Government data, and found that there were 7,015 people in temporary accommodation in the borough, compared to 6,695 last year, writes Grainne Cuffe, Local Democracy Correspondent.
According to the figures, five people are sleeping rough in Lewisham – a drop of 17 since last year – but local homeless charity the 999 Club estimates the number is 10 times that.
One in 43 people are now homeless in the borough, compared to one in 45 last year, leaving Lewisham with 12th highest rate of homelessness in England.
Paul Bell, Lewisham’s cabinet member for housing, said: “Shelter’s report highlights the number of people adversely affected by the blight of the ongoing housing crisis – and it makes for grim reading.
“It is not right that every year an increasing number of families are made homeless because they cannot access social homes due to the chronic shortage of these properties.
“We are doing everything we can to tackle the housing crisis in line with our corporate priority but more needs to be done – with more central government resources we can build more desperately-needed social homes.”
Nationally, 280,000 people were recorded as homeless, a surge of 23,000 since 2016 when Shelter first published its annual report, while nearly 220,000 were threatened with homelessness in the last year.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Homelessness blights lives and leaves a lasting imprint of trauma, and yet 280,000 people in England are without a home this Christmas. And many are only days away from joining them.
“As well as those facing serious ill-health or even death sleeping rough on our streets this winter, there are thousands of families trapped in grotty emergency B&Bs, with no space for children to sit and eat, let alone play.
“This is the grim truth our new government must confront and do something radical to change.
“Until the government acts to stem this crisis, the work of our front line advisers remains critical.
“With the public’s support we will do everything we can to help people find a safe and stable place to live – no matter how long it takes.”
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.