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Mayor of London calls for rent freeze as homelessness rises

Nick Cheek
Written By:
Nick Cheek
Posted:
Updated:
31/10/2022

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has urged the government to immediately freeze private sector rents as the number of people sleeping rough in the capital rises.

Between April 2022 and the end of September 2022, 5,712 people were seen sleeping rough in the capital, an increase of 21% on the same period last year, according to statistics released by City Hall.

Cost of living pressures are in part driving the increase suggest reports from those within the sector. Inflation has rocketed this year while the cost of renting has also soared.

Sadiq Khan has called for a rent freeze, a lift on the benefit cap while unfreezing Local Housing Allowance rates and increasing funding for local authorities to reduce homelessness.

He also urged for promised reforms to the rental sector including the end to Section 21 evictions, and measures to stop refugees and asylum seekers being pushed into homelessness.

Khan: ‘Growing risk of homelessness’

Khan said: “Since I was elected mayor, around 13,500 people have been helped off our capital’s streets with eight in ten staying off the streets for good.

“Our outreach workers, charity teams, healthcare professionals and council staff are not only vital partners in this work but unsung heroes and deserve our heartfelt gratitude.

“Despite this progress, extraordinary financial pressures are putting the poorest Londoners at growing risk of homelessness with the number of people sleeping rough already up by a fifth year on year. We continue to see a revolving door of people ending up homeless as a result of this escalating cost-of-living crisis.

“This cannot be allowed to continue, this new government must act now to prevent the circumstances that lead to people sleeping rough before thousands more are forced to face a winter on the streets.”

‘Very harsh reality of this financial crisis’

St Mungo’s interim chief executive, Rebecca Sycamore, added: “As a leading homelessness charity whose teams are trying to get people off the streets every day, St Mungo’s sees the very real and very harsh reality of this financial crisis all of the time. And with more price increases, it is very likely many of those currently just scraping by will no longer be able to manage, and could be at real risk of losing their homes and experiencing a very harsh winter.

“Action is needed now. We want to see the government uplift benefits in line with inflation, increase the benefit cap and unfreeze Local Housing Allowance rates. We urge the prime minister and his ministers to act as a matter of urgency to prevent more people ending up homeless this winter.”