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Boroughs to work together to keep people off streets in London

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire says the ‘radical’ plan will provide thousands of extras homes for families.

A homeless person outside Victoria Station in London (Victoria Jones/PA)
A homeless person outside Victoria Station in London (Victoria Jones/PA)

London boroughs will join forces to provide thousands of extra properties for families on the edge of homelessness, the Communities Secretary has announced.

James Brokenshire said the “radical” plan, backed by almost £38 million of funding from the Government’s £1.2 billion strategy to address rough sleeping, can make a “real difference” to vulnerable people in the capital.

The boroughs will work together under the new scheme to provide homes for families struggling to find secure housing.

It aims to end the current competition between areas for the best accommodation.

Instead, local authorities will be encouraged to join forces in boosting accommodation to tackle homelessness across the whole city.

London faces the country’s most serious homelessness challenge Darren Rodwell, of London Councils

A total of 11 London boroughs have signed up to the scheme so far – including Tower Hamlets, Croydon and Ealing – but it is hoped more will join in the future.

The Capital Letters programme is expected to help more than 35,000 households within Greater London out of homelessness over the next three years.

The announcement of the scheme comes less than a fortnight after a homeless man died after collapsing outside the Westminster Underground station entrance at the Houses of Parliament.

Mr Brokenshire said: “Everyone deserves a safe and secure home. I’ve seen for myself how hard each of the London boroughs works to provide those that are homeless with the support they need and a roof over their heads.

“This radical new way of working and unprecedented collaboration between the boroughs and Government will make a real difference – providing more accommodation for the vulnerable and helping them to get back on their feet and away from homelessness for good.”

Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ executive member for housing and planning, said: “With so many homeless households and so little accommodation available, London faces the country’s most serious homelessness challenge.

“Capital Letters is a crucial opportunity to do things differently – and we are extremely pleased to have the government’s support for this innovative work.

“Through collaboration, boroughs will collectively strengthen our market position and secure much better housing options for homeless Londoners.”

Greg Beales, campaign director at housing charity Shelter, said: “While we welcome efforts to help the many families who are on the verge of homelessness now, the Government must also address the deep problems in the system that are leading to this housing emergency.

“Too many families are stranded in unstable private renting, battling to keep a roof over their heads against a tide of rising rents and benefit cuts.

“For struggling families in London and across the country, we desperately needs to build many more social homes. That’s why Shelter has set up its own cross-party commission that will soon set out a bold new vision for social housing.”

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