Number of homeless families in Brent being moved out of London is up by 4,800 per cent
PUBLISHED: 18:53 25 March 2014 | UPDATED: 18:53 25 March 2014
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The number of homeless families with school-age children who Brent Council have moved out of London has surged by 4,800 per cent in the four years, figures show.
According to data collected by the Green Party, the borough has seen the highest hike in households being transferred out of the capital out of the 23 local authorities in the city who provided statistics.
The figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, showed just one family in Brent was relocated outside of London in 2010/11 but last year it had hiked to 49 households.
Greenwich and Newham Council came second and third with 38 and 28 respectively.
Figures also show a surge in the number families in Brent who were relocated to other boroughs in London, from 5 to 127 in the last four years, representing an increase of 440 per cent.
Isabel Counihan, from campaign group Brent Housing Action, was evicted from her home in Kilburn in 2012 and placed in temporary accommodation in Ealing, with husband Anthony, her late mother and five children.
She said: “It was catastrophic. Leaving your networks, friend and community is an incredibly hard thing to do –especially for the kids.”
“It was hard enough for them to leave home, but leaving behind their teachers and friends had been devastating.”
Describing the figures on Brent as insane, Ms Counihan added: “I have great sympathy and empathy for those who are housed in places as far out as Liverpool.
“We don’t need more commercial properties but more affordable options.”
The family was rehoused in Dollis Hill last year.
Nationally, the number of families with school-age children being housed by boroughs outside of London has seen a tenfold increase from 21 four years ago to 222 in the first three quarters of 2013/14.
A further 2,687 other families were forced to move to another London borough in the same period, compared to 1,428 in 2010/11.
Last year, a cap on Housing Benefit payments was introduced as part of the government’s welfare reform.
The changes meant the highest amount payable for a four-bedroom property was set at £400, £340 for three-bedroom homes, and £290 for two-beds and £250 for one-bed.
With surging rents in London, a family of two adults and three children requiring a four-bedroom home will have to move to Coventry to avoid any shortfall in their HB payment or they could live in Birmingham or Swindon if they move to a three bedroom property.
Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of the council, blamed government cuts for the problem, claiming town hall bosses are doing everything in their power to house people within the borough borders.
He added: The council is offering financial assistance directly to the most vulnerable, helping local people into work and moving ahead with an ambitious plan to build 3,000 affordable homes over the next four years.”