‘Worst housing crisis since WWII’ blamed as Camden’s rough sleeping numbers soar

There were 127 homeless people recorded at the council's count in November last year

There were 127 homeless people recorded at the council's count in November last year - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The number has increased seven-fold when compared to the previous year.

Richard Cotton is Camden's Mayor for 2017/2018

Richard Cotton is Camden's Mayor for 2017/2018 - Credit: Archant

The mayor of Camden Council has slammed the “worst housing crisis since the Second World War” as being responsible for a seven-fold increase in homeless people on the streets.

Cllr Richard Cotton said the biggest increase of homeless people, recorded in Camden on one night in November 2017, was part of a problem which wouldn’t be solved until central government looked at house building policy and priorities.

He said: “You won’t solve the issue until we solve that crisis. You need a radical programme to build affordable homes in London, many at the moment are built by overseas investors.

“We need to be able to build council houses, and stop selling them off. I’m happy that people have the chance to buy their own home but the numbers of council houses is a fraction of what it used to be. We have built houses in our area but it only scratches the surface.”

There were 127 homeless people when the council-run count took place, a huge increase from just 17 last year. This represents the biggest yearly increase in rough sleepers in London. According to Camden Council, more than 75 per cent come from elsewhere in the UK, or from abroad.

They noted when the count was done in November, there were 66 rough sleepers from Romania. A month later when counted, there was just eight.

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Cllr Cotton’s chosen charity for the year is C4WS, which works with homeless people in Camden.

Councillor Nadia Shah, cabinet member for safer communities blamed cuts from central government. “Rough sleeping in Camden is now at unprecedented levels. This is an appalling situation made worse by the politics of austerity that have led to cuts in services across the country. Rough sleeping has no place in the 21st century, but numbers continue to rise especially as people arrive in central London. We are working closely with partners to develop our ‘Routes off The Street’ approach to improve services and continue with our approach of using enforcement options only where services have been refused,” she said.

A government spokesman said: “Tackling homelessness is a complex issue with no single solution but we are investing £1bn to support those left with nowhere to go, plus more than £9bn to deliver the affordable properties our country needs. We are also bringing the most ambitious reform in decades through the Homelessness Reduction Act to ensure people get support they need before they become homeless.”