More of Croydon's homeless to be asked to leave the borough
MORE homeless families are to be asked to move out of Croydon as the borough's housing crisis continues to deepen.
A shortage of temporary accommodation has left 429 families living in bed and breakfasts, a seven-fold increase since the end of 2008.
As a result the council has, for the first time, publicly admitted it is to offer these families housing outside of Croydon.
It has reached an agreement with Richmond, Kingston and Sutton councils to obtain 150 properties outside of London, with Croydon taking the larger proportion.
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Relocation would be optional and temporary but the council would not be drawn on which areas of the country families will be able to move to.
Cllr Dudley Mead, cabinet member for housing, said: "It's an incontrovertible fact we don't have enough spare capacity in Croydon for the number of homeless people asking the council for help. Obviously, we'd like to be able to offer everybody who comes to us exactly the accommodation, in the area of their choice, they ask for.
"Sadly, that isn't possible, and this joint venture with other authorities offers homeless households somewhere to live on a temporary basis."
The Advertiser first exposed council plans to ask homeless families to leave Croydon in November last year.
At the time, 300 families were living in bed and breakfasts because of the lack of accommodation, which is offered to those in "extreme housing crisis".
The council considered a number of areas, including Hull, in Yorkshire, where more homes are available and rent is cheaper.
Following the Advertiser's story, the council was inundated with calls from the national media, but deflected attention from the issue, even claiming the story had been fabricated.
A month later the authority was offered nearly 100 homes by a property developer.
The deal involved 96 units, 67 in Greater Manchester and a further 29 in Walsall, in the West Midlands.
Homeless families eventually rejected the chance to move to either area, leaving Cllr Mead to seek longer term solutions, including building 55 new homes.
In May the Advertiser published council projections which warned it may have to find homes for an extra 580 families by April 2013.
Changes to the housing benefit system are also predicted to create 300 more single homeless in Croydon and will prompt 550 families to move to the borough.