London boroughs have this week warned of a homelessness crisis that is “spiralling out of control”, as we head into the winter months.
New figures show 4,068 people were counted sleeping rough in London between July and September 2023, with hundreds seen across Lambeth and Southwark.
We are truly seeing the knock-on effects of the poorly-handled cost of living crisis, which appear to be compounded by the Government’s cruel and irresponsible immigration policy.
According to London Councils, a key factor driving the increase in rough sleeping is the increase in the number of people leaving Home Office accommodation, such as hotels, after receiving decisions on asylum applications.
Much more needs to be done to help asylum seekers in this country in general but in the midst of a housing crisis the Government needs to step in and not leave them on the street.
Aside from the humanitarian obligations which should be first considered, this creates an additional burden for already under-pressure councils.
Those who do manage to gain recognised refugee status are expected to “move on” within 28 days from the hotels or hostels they have been staying in.
It is not realistic to expect people to be able to do that in London, where an estimated 170,000 people live in temporary accommodation already.
This equates to one in 50 residents of the capital, and includes one in every 23 children.
The figures represent a poverty bomb that is exploding on our streets.
A perfect storm of unaffordable housing, increased living costs and a disinterested national Government bereft of ideas, or care, that has created the worst living conditions for South Londoners in recent memory.
When the time comes for the public to decide the next Government, remember how this one treated the worst off in society, because, as the figures show, many of us are only one bad decision away from joining them.
SPIRIT OF SOUTH LONDON
South London Press
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