Lewisham Homes has purchased 50 properties to house families in need and prevent local people from becoming homeless.
- The London-wide demand for affordable housing has hugely increased resulting in the demand for temporary accommodation doubling in two years.
- Lewisham has seen a ten-fold increase; from 60 families housed in emergency bed and breakfast or hostel accommodation in 2013, to nearly 600 families now requiring this support.
- These 50 new homes will save Lewisham Council £300,000 a year in emergency accommodation costs.
- We are providing a package of support for families living in these newly bought properties so that they are happy in their homes.
- Working with Lewisham Council, we’re also building 500 new homes, converting disused office spaces into places where people can live, piloting new methods of construction to provide homes more quickly, and introducing a range of policy changes.
One Sydenham resident housed through the scheme told us about the positive personal impact which moving out of emergency accommodation has had on her family:
Living in a bed and breakfast with three children was really difficult. My children were unsettled and we were overcrowded. I found simple things like getting my children up to our room, holding a baby and a pushchair, impossible.
Now that we have a home of our own, my children have stability and can go to nursery and school for the first time. They’ve been able to form proper, lasting friendships and we have the space we need. We are all so much happier.
Councillor Egan, Cabinet Member for Housing, said:
We’re seeing more and more families being made homeless many of whom will be working and have children in local schools, yet they can end up in hostels far from Lewisham. We’re in desperate need of more affordable housing and buying 50 homes on the open market allows us to house families and give them the security they need.
In the long term it also saves the Council £300,000 because the hostel costs are so high. We can put this saving towards protecting front-line Council services that are being threatened with cuts.