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Government's welfare reforms are increasing homelessness in Bromley, council says

PUBLISHED: 11:32 07 December 2016 | UPDATED: 11:50 07 December 2016

Bromley has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the country

Bromley has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the country

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The council has responded after Bromley was named a homelessness hotspot by a charity

The council has blamed the government’s welfare reforms for increasing the rate of homelessness after Bromley was named one of the worst affected boroughs in a recent report.

Bromley ranked 23rd in the top 50 homelessness hotspots identified by charity Shelter based on information from the government and social services.

One in 82 people in the borough is homeless, with just under 4,000 in temporary accommodation and four rough sleepers.

Eighteen of the top 20 hotspots named by the charity are London boroughs, while other areas making the top 50 include Brighton, Slough, Manchester and Bristol.

Councillor Robert Evans, executive member for care services, said welfare reforms and high house prices are making it difficult for families to find affordable accommodation.

“Since the first tranche of welfare reform the downward trend on homelessness and temporary accommodation use has reversed and we have seen more than a 200 per cent increase,” he explained.

“The council is committed to preventing homelessness wherever possible and has developed a wide range of schemes to help prevent homelessness or support households into alternative accommodation.”

Two former residential units have been refurbished, while the More Homes Bromley scheme will provide around 400 homes for temporary accommodation, Cllr Evans said.

But a spokesperson for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “We do not recognise these figures.

“The actual level of homelessness is less than half the 2003 peak. However, we know that one person without a home is one too many.”

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