UK

Homelessness Is Worst In Some Of London's Richest Boroughs, New Research Reveals

'I feel like I’m in a prison'.

08/11/2017 00:02 GMT | Updated 09/11/2017 08:34 GMT

Some of London’s richest borough have some of the highest homelessness rates in the country, new research has revealed.

In the most extensive review of its kind, homelessness charity Shelter exposed the worst boroughs around the UK for rough sleeping and people being housed in temporary accommodation.

Most of the worst performing boroughs were in London, with some of the richest coming out as the worst.

Westminster, which has an average income of £104,000, has a total of 8,054 people homeless, equivalent to one in 31 people. It’s national ranking was 3rd worst.

Shelter
Shelter's heat map shows how bad the homelessness problem in each area is

Kensington and Chelsea, where the average income is £158,000, had a total of 4,401 people registered homeless, equivalent to one in 36. This left it as the fifth worst borough in the country.

The borough of Newham came out worst of all, with a total of 13,607 people registered homeless, equivalent to one in 25 people.

Deserae Plante has lived in temporary accommodation since 2009 but was moved out of her accommodation in Westminster, first to Haringey and now to Romford in Essex.

The single mother told HuffPost UK she was “gutted” at how her case was handled, adding: “It’s one of the richest boroughs in the country but it still has so many housing issues.”

Plante, who has four young daughters, spoke of the effect that her experience had on her mental health.

She said: “I don’t want to go out any more, I hardly want to associate with people. I just want to keep myself to myself because I just feel down.

“I feel like I’m in a prison...I get really, really depressed because of this whole housing issue.”

She added: “We are people too, we might not have the money but we’re people too and we need to be treated equally. You shouldn’t treat someone better because they have more money than someone else. We’re all human.”

PA Archive/PA Images
A person sleeps rough in Westminster

Outside London, areas such as Luton, where 1 in 52 people are homeless, Birmingham (1 in 88) and Manchester (1 in 154) also featured in the top 50.

Shelter’s research found that in total, there are 307,000 people living in temporary accommodation and sleeping rough, equivalent to one in 200 people. This is 13,000 more people than last year.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “It’s shocking to think that today, more than 300,000 people in Britain are waking up homeless. Some will have spent the night shivering on a cold pavement, others crammed into a dingy, hostel room with their children. And what is worse, many are simply unaccounted for.

“On a daily basis, we speak to hundreds of people and families who are desperately trying to escape the devastating trap of homelessness. A trap that is tightening thanks to decades of failure to build enough affordable homes and the impact of welfare cuts.

“As this crisis continues to unfold, the work of our frontline services remains absolutely critical. We will do all we can to make sure no-one is left to fight homelessness on their own. But we cannot achieve this alone; we urgently need the public’s support to be there for everyone who needs us right now.”