'One in seven homeless in London's richest borough'

One in every seven families living in Britain’s wealthiest borough are technically homeless, according to figures issued by Shelter today.

The charity says 1,441 families out of a total of 10,705 in Kensington and Chelsea are staying in accommodation which is temporary, insecure or unsafe and could not “reasonably” be called a home.

In neighbouring Westminster, the figure is one in eight. In Haringey, it is one in 12.

Across the capital, an average of one in 24 families are living in temporary accommodation, with 44,260 families classed as homeless by Shelter. This is an increase of 46 per cent compared with five years ago.

Polly Neate, CEO at Shelter said: “It’s shocking that one in every 24 families in London is homeless. Every day we help parents desperate to escape the cramped accommodation they’re forced to raise their children in.”

Shelter defines homeless as not having an automatic right to live anywhere or living in a place that is so unsafe it cannot reasonably be called a home.

Families may be living in bed and breakfasts, hostels, renting privately week to week, or living in local authority housing having been accepted as homeless under the 1996 Housing Act. 

A spokesman for Kensington and Chelsea council said: “We’re doing everything we can to prevent and combat homelessness, redoubling our efforts to increase the number of social homes despite being one of London’s most built-up and expensive boroughs.”

A Westminster council spokesman said: “While housing challenges are unique in Westminster, with some of the highest private rents in the UK, we work tirelessly with partners, including Shelter, to really focus on prevention and early intervention in order to help families from spiralling out of control and in to homelessness.”

According to Shelter’s research the loss of a private tenancy is the leading of cause of homelessness in London, accounting for 40 per cent of all cases.

Shelter released the figures to coincide with a charity fund-raising event next month, the Vertical Rush challenge, which takes place on March 15.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government said the Government is providing more than £1 billion up to 2020 to reduce homelessness. 

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