There’s an old English saying that if you’re going to ostracise someone, then you might as well send them to Coventry and it looks like Westminster would genuinely like to do that to its homeless families.
Featured Image VIA
Westminster council are saying that due to rising homelessness, cuts to housing benefits and government plans to force local authorities to sell off social housing, they could be forced to rehouse people as far away from the capital as Coventry. Currently 3% of the borough’s homeless families are rehoused outside of Greater London, but these increased cost pressures and a shortage of local affordable accommodation means that this figure is set to increase dramatically in the future.
Currently those with special needs and care demands would have priority to be rehoused within the borough and those families with children in school at key exam stages or with jobs in the borough would be rehoused in Greater London, with everyone else being offered private rented homes in the south east and beyond. The West Midlands – where Coventry is situated – has been identified as an area with the best opportunities, but it has been noted that appropriate properties are also limited in these areas too.
This process has been going on in the borough for some time under the radar. Obviously this isn’t great for the families involved – being sent miles away from their homes, friends families and essentially lives – and this has been recognised by Westminster’s Labour opposition leader, councillor Adam Hug, who said:
This council’s decades-long atrocious record on building social and genuinely affordable homes combined with the government’s insidious benefit changes have created a perfect storm for Westminster residents in desperate need for temporary accommodation.
This policy formalises and turbo-charges what has happened in recent years where Westminster residents in temporary accommodation are being sent further and further from home. It is essential that Westminster radically improves its council house building plans and challenges the divisive government policies that underpin these worrying plans.
It’s basically completely messed up and if you’re affected by homelessness in the borough and want somewhere to live then there’s not much you can do about it. Although if you’re single, it might be a blessing in disguise – apparently Coventry is the number one destination for single people looking for love in the UK. Who would have thought it?