Homeless families given train fare to move out of borough
PUBLISHED: 10:00 27 April 2020
The Student View is a charity that teaches young people from The Warren School and Dagenham Park CoE School how to spot misinformation and write real news stories about Barking and Dagenham to encourage them to engage with their communities. This is one of their stories
A total of 99 homeless families have been issued one-way train tickets since March last year by Barking and Dagenham Borough Council.
The council has spent £7,455.20 on a controversial transportation policy that moves rough sleepers away from the area where they have chosen to stay.
Before the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act in April 2018, councils were only obligated to support rough sleepers who came from their area.
However, since the law changed the council must now refer homeless people to support services in an area they have a local connection with if they have no ties to Barking and Dagenham.
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This means families are being moved away from Barking and Dagenham if they have no connection to the area and sent elsewhere.
A spokesman from Barking and Dagenham Council said the majority of people who “approached” the council as homeless “decide to relocate voluntarily” through the Homefinder Scheme.
“There is an extreme shortage of social housing across boroughs in the South East and Barking and Dagenham is no exception.
“For many families facing homelessness, the prospect of high rents in the private sector and a lack of security of their tenancy is not one that appeals to them, so they will often opt to relocate into a permanent social tenancy outside of London.”
The spokesman added these train tickets are also given to people who are threatened with homelessness and to those who “no longer feel safe to remain in the area”, for example, due to domestic violence.
The findings were sourced by media literacy charity The Student View in a Freedom of Information request submitted to Barking and Dagenham Borough Council.
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