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1,000 Croydon families to be made homeless in a single year, projections show

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THE housing crisis will peak at more than 1,000 families being made homeless in a single year, newly published projections have shown.

Estimates predict the number of statutory homeless acceptances will hit 897 by the end of this financial year.

The number of homeless families who will need to find accommodation will continue to rise until it hits 1,030 in 2014/15.

Such a huge demand for accommodation will far outstrip the supply of social housing and private rental accommodation in Croydon, and this week the council admitted it will have to ask more homeless families to move to other areas of the country.

Dudley Mead, cabinet member for housing, said: "The supply of private rented housing available to the council in which to place homeless families has dried up.

"While we would prefer to keep households in Croydon, the reality is we have to look further afield."

The relocation policy was first revealed by the Advertiser in November 2011. It was officially adopted in July last year but stalled after offers of housing in Walsall and Manchester collapsed, due in part to a lack of interest among the homeless.

Since then 26 families have been moved to Essex, Luton and Dagenham in east London.

They are among the 441 families currently placed in bed and breakfast by the council, of which 219 are in shared accommodation.

The council is to outline a new strategy to tackle homelessness, which will focus on reducing the numbers living in such accommodation for more than six weeks.

"It is the council's priority to reduce the number of families currently staying in bed and breakfast accommodation," said Cllr Mead.

"Therefore, we have launched a dedicated housing supply taskforce to find more homes which will ease the burden on both families and the council."

The authority also plans to build 42 new homes, convert redundant council buildings, such as former children's homes, into residential use, and bring empty properties back into use, partly with the use of a new council tax premium.

Last week chief executive Jon Rouse admitted to the Advertiser that Croydon faced a housing crisis which would "get worse before it got better".

He said the forthcoming benefits cap, which will be piloted in Croydon from April, will affect 800 families and increase homelessness.

This week's projections, which will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on Monday, attribute much of the increase in homelessness since 2010/11 on reforms to Local Housing Allowance (housing benefit for people in temporary accommodation) and other benefit reforms.

Estimates suggest homeless acceptances will begin to drop after 2013/14, with 967 in 2015/16.

1,000 Croydon families to be made homeless in a single year, projections show


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