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Borough has the fifth highest rates of homeless people living in temporary accommodation

PUBLISHED: 15:42 23 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:48 26 November 2018

Barking and Dagenham has the fifth highest rate of homelessness in England. Pic: PA

Barking and Dagenham has the fifth highest rate of homelessness in England. Pic: PA

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Barking and Dagenham has the fifth highest rate of homeless people living in temporary accommodation in England, a new report from housing charity Shelter shows.

According to the most recent data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government there are an estimated 6,531 people in Barking and Dagenham who are technically homeless.

All of them are in temporary accommodation, which includes those in hostel beds, living in B&Bs or with their own arrangements such as staying for short periods with different friends or family.

It means that one in every 32 people in Barking and Dagenham are homeless – the fifth-highest rate in the country.

The number of homeless people in the borough has risen by two per cent since 2017, while across Britain the figure has increased by four per cent.

Across London, one in 53 people are homeless – the highest rate of England’s nine regions.

An estimated 320,000 people are now homeless in Britain – 12,600 more than last year.

The chief executive of Shelter, Polly Neate, said: “It’s unforgivable that 320,000 people in Britain have been swept up by the housing crisis and now have no place to call home.

“These new figures show that homelessness is having a devastating impact on the lives of people right across the country.

“Due to the perfect storm of spiralling rents, welfare cuts and a total lack of social housing, record numbers of people are sleeping out on the streets or stuck in the cramped confines of a hostel room.

“We desperately need action now to change tomorrow for the hundreds of thousands whose lives will be blighted by homelessness this winter.”

The secretary of state for communities, James Brokenshire, said: “No one should be left without a roof over their head, which is why we are determined to end rough sleeping and respond to the causes of homelessness.

“We are investing more than £1.2 billion to tackle all forms of homelessness and a new law requires councils to support people sooner to help prevent them becoming homeless in the first place.

“Our rough sleeping strategy, support for councils and those working on the front line are helping to get people off the street and into accommodation as we enter the colder winter months.”

He said the government’s £9 billion affordable homes programme was ensuring that local authorities had the support they needed to build more council homes.

Mr Brokenshire added: “But we know that there is more that we need to do and we’re committed to working with Shelter and others to make a positive difference on this important issue.”

A Barking and Dagenham Council spokesman explained that the number of households in temporary accommodation had been reduced to 1,746 in the past month - equivalent to 5,426 people.

He said: “Our temporary accommodation numbers have fallen steadily since November 2017 – a downward trend not replicated in most other areas.

“We recognise that securing and sustaining accommodation, particularly in London, is very difficult for anyone on a lower income.”

He added that the council had not used bed and breakfasts as temporary accommodation for more than a year.

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