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House homeless in disused buildings, say Lib Dems

May 22nd 2009

London's 100,000 empty buildings could be brought back into use
The Liberal Democrats' London housing spokeswoman, Dee Doocey, has called for London's 100,000 disused buildings to be made available to house those sleeping rough or living in temporary accommodation. Ms Doocey made the comments in reaction to the latest housing figures for the capital, which reveal a 37 per cent rise in homelessness in the past four years. The London mayor's office revealed the new figures, which show that more than 18,000 additional families are living in temporary housing than in December 2000. During this time, four London boroughs recorded a rise in homelessness of more than 100 per cent. Havering, on the eastern edge of London, saw an increase of 450 per cent, from 147 families living in temporary accommodation in 2000, to 809 last year. Only five out of 33 London boroughs managed to bring down the numbers of residents living in temporary accommodation. The government recently set itself a new target of halving the number of people living in temporary accommodation by 2010. Ms Doocey said: "The number of people in temporary accommodation has risen to intolerable levels and it is now time that the government addressed this trend... Why are ministers unable to bring the 100,000 empty homes in London back into use for those who need them most." The London Mayor's office said more affordable housing was being constructed now than at any time in the past 20 years. "The number of new homes built in the capital in 2004 was at its highest level in more than two decades," said a spokesperson. "We anticipate the number of new affordable homes will this year rise to 10,000 for the first time for many years." The Mayor of London has pledged that half of all new homes will be affordable. Meanwhile, late last month the Deputy Prime Minister set out plans to construct over 70,000 new homes on land currently owned by the government. The move is an attempt to drive down house prices, find places for low-income families, and house those who are currently without permanent homes.



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