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Homelessness in Tower Hamlets rises by 27 per cent

PUBLISHED: 11:32 21 July 2017 | UPDATED: 08:30 24 July 2017

Tower Hamlets had an increase of 27pc in homelessness since 2013 Picture: Shazia Whatson

Tower Hamlets had an increase of 27pc in homelessness since 2013 Picture: Shazia Whatson

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There has been a 27 per cent increase in rough sleepers across Tower Hamlets since 2013.

Homelessness across the capital has doubled since 2010, with 8,768 sleeping rough in London in the past year.

Tower Hamlets also finished in the top half of the 32 boroughs with Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs blaming the government for a rough sleeping increase of 27pc, the 15th highest in London.

“Central government policy, including benefit changes and cuts in services, continue to force many people out on to the streets,” he said. “As is often the case, it is the most vulnerable that lose out. As a council we do what we can to support organisations who help the homeless, but it is a desperately sad situation.”

Topping the list was Barking and Dagenham, with a 71pc increase in rough sleepers.

The borough, which has a 12pc average unemployment rate, topped the list after research by Sellhousefast.uk, which used Mayor of London figures to put neighbouring borough Havering in second place, with a 65pc increase in rough sleepers since 2013.

Redbridge also made the top five, with a 62pc increase placing it in fourth place and Newham was sixth place with an increase of 49pc.

With the most rough sleepers overall, Westminster experienced a rise of 16pc in the past four years.

Researchers found that 47pc of homeless people seeking support in London had mental health issues and 25.6pc were living in hostels, with 15.4pc sheltering in local authority accommodation and 10.6pc staying in assessment centres.

Of those rough sleepers seeking help, 44pc were found to be struggling with alcohol and 35pc with drug misuse.

The home-selling group cited five factors fuelling the capital’s homelessness crisis:

- Council cuts to housing

- Government benefit changes

- Wages rising by 68pc since 1997, since when house prices have risen by 259pc

- London housing shortage requiring 30,000 houses to built a year to meet current demand

- Immigration pushing up demand for housing in the capital, where one in three citizens were born abroad

The research also found that six boroughs had experienced a fall in rough sleepers since 2013.

Barnet had the biggest decline, with a 44pc reduction and Southwark had a 23pc reduction.

Lambeth’s rough sleepers decreased by 20pc, Harrow’s by 12pc, Hackney’s by 5pc and Ealing’s by 2pc.

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