Hackney homelessness up by a third

0
26
homelessness is rising in Hackney
A homeless person on the streets of Hackney. Photo: hoxtonchina

Homelessness has increased by 32% in Hackney since June 2014 and the borough now has the third highest percentage of homeless people in England, government figures have shown.

The latest figures say 279 people are homeless and in “priority need” in Hackney.

A homeless person is considered “in priority need” if they are pregnant, have children, are ill or aged under 21. Former prisoners, military veterans and those fleeing domestic violence also fall under this banner.

There are now five of these vulnerable homeless people for every 2,000 households in Hackney.

Homelessness increase

Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, told the Hackney Post: “Homelessness is the worst it has been in my 20 years  in elected office. Things have gone too far backwards and the situation for the homeless has deteriorated massively.”

As of September 2015, there were 14,670 homeless people in “priority need” in the UK.

The only areas of the country with higher ratios of homelessness than Hackney are the boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, and Waltham Forest.

Rough Sleepers

Between 2014 and 2015, Hackney Council spent more than £7.1 million in attempts to tackle homelessness. But data released by charity Homeless Link has shown that the number of rough sleepers in Hackney has  increased by 67% over the past year.

Rick Henderson, chief executive of Homeless Link, said: “It is unacceptable that anyone has to sleep rough in Britain today – and even more shocking that the number of people in this situation has risen every year since 2010.”

A count by the local authority found that twenty people sleep on the streets of Hackney on any given night.

Accommodation

Sarah Borwick from the Hackney Winter Night Shelter, an organisation that provides homeless people with overnight accommodation, said: “We have seen an absolutely rise over the last year, especially with women.”

Andrew Hudson, chair of trustees at Hackney Winter Night Shelter, explained: “There are many reasons for this, including the overall shortage of housing in Hackney and the rise in rents.

“This also makes it harder to find more suitable places for our homeless guests to move on.”

Temporary Housing

The government survey found that Hackney has the sixth highest percentage of residents in temporary housing, with 2,285 people living in accommodation provided by the local authority.

Locals can be housed in hostels, bed and breakfasts or housing association accommodation.

Speaking at a housing rally on Saturday, Ms Hillier said: “Before, if you were homeless you might be living in a hostel for six months maximum – now it can be over a year with children.

“These are people with kids, but at least they actually have a roof over their heads. There are other people out there on the streets, sleeping rough on doorsteps.”