A staggering one in 25 people are currently homeless in the London Borough of Newham - the highest number in the capital. That's 13,607 people out of the population of 340,978, and an increase of almost 1,500 in the past year.
These sobering figures have been released today by homelessness charity Shelter, who have conducted an extensive review of rough-sleeping, temporary accommodation and social services figures. They said the figures do not include 'hidden' or unrecorded homelessness which "is very difficult to quantify, but known to be sizeable".
The report, entitled Far from alone: Homelessness in Britain in 2017, reveals that there are at least 164,000 people recorded as homeless in London - more than the entire population of Reading.
Andy Haines, Interim Chief Executive of Caritas Anchor House, said: "These latest figures are sadly unsurprising. Caritas Anchor House has seen a 66% increase in our referrals over the previous five years. Just last year we received over 400% more referrals from agencies than our capacity.
"Despite the growing pressure on our services, we are committed to supporting those who have experienced homelessness back into independent living, and work hard to help as many people as possible in Newham. As one of the borough's main providers of homelessness services, we hope to work with the London Borough of Newham to find a solution to this crisis."
The largest cause of homelessness in the UK remains evictions from homes in the private rented sector. In Newham, there is simply very little housing stock available to those in the borough on low incomes, or beset by hard times. In addition, house prices in the borough have increased by 22.2% in the past year - the largest rise in the UK.
Caritas Anchor House is proud to have opened 25 new studios flats this year on our site, enabling us to provide much needed services to more people than ever before. We know that the move from the supportive environment of Caritas Anchor House to living independently in the community can be difficult for some people that have experienced homelessness. These new homes mean that there is now a two-part process that makes the transition from Caritas Anchor House to a home of your own a slightly gentler one.
Homelessness is about more than not having a roof over your head and is the culmination of many different factors. We work with our residents to address many areas of their lives, including health and wellbeing, maintaining relationships, financial management, education and back-to-work preparation, and support to achieve and sustain independent living.
Patrick, a resident of Caritas Anchor House, explained that following the death of his mother, he was evicted from the family home.
"My confidence was at rock bottom. But, the compassion that the staff showed me has helped me to come to terms with what I was going through. They supported me to take up training courses and volunteering, and I now have a paid job working in their kitchen. I have a very positive outlook for the future, and maybe this will lead to a career in the catering business. This is all because of the support, belief and trust that Caritas Anchor House has shown and continue to show me."
If you'd like to support the work of Caritas Anchor House see: www.caritasanchorhouse.org.uk
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