Numbers in emergency accommodation across Greenwich up from 1340 to 1446

The number of people living in temporary accommodation continues to rise sharply in Greenwich borough as a new Greenwich Council report shows numbers up from 1340 to 1446 in just three months.

The report will go before Greenwich Council’s Cabinet next week at a meeting held just a day after plans for public land in Charlton to be used for expensive “pocket” flats in Charlton are set to be approved.

December 2020

The Pocket Living plan sees public land in Charlton used for small flats at the borderline of legal size limits. The former MP for Greenwich and Woolwich sits on the Pocket Living board, and the move is supported by Sadiq Khan.

September 2020

Using Pocket Living ensures public land is not used either for direct council building or utilised by Greenwich developer Meridian Home Start at lower rents. A small one-off return ensures long term higher costs as more public land is lost and reliance on hotels and other forms of short term accommodation increase. That is not cheap.

Funds spent on emergency housing has increased yet further with another overspend of £3.8m. The council reports states a further surge in demand is expected next year.

Increased costs
Social housing

Social housing numbers have been under severe pressure for some time. Policies from central Government regarding Right to Buy has seen many homes sold. Much income in Greenwich borough from sales has been used to buy existing homes at high cost rather than partnering with organisations such as Housing Associations to build new homes. This competes with first time buyers, pushes up prices while compounding problems of affordability.

In addition, public land has continued to be sold to private developers rather than used to build new housing. Greenwich originally sought to sell three plots of land to Pocket Living. We await to see what will happen with sizable amounts of land at the future Woolwich leisure centre site. It already appears the site will not be fully utilised for housing.

Funding for truly affordable homes from central Government has also been cut sharply. The rise in private renters – up from 19.7 % to 32 % of all households in Greenwich borough from 2014 to 2020 and replicated nationwide – has seen housing benefit costs rise sharply with private landlords now receiving £12 billion per year from taxpayers across the ccountry.

Private renter increase from 2014 to 2020

Combine central Government policy and local Greenwich Council policy in purchasing expensive private homes instead of utilising public plots either directly, via Meridian Home Start or partnering with Housing Associations using Right to Buy income and a sharp rise in future costs is expected alongside a greater number of homeless people and those in emergency accommodation.

Developers and landlords win though.


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2 thoughts on “Numbers in emergency accommodation across Greenwich up from 1340 to 1446

  • Greenwich Council is a DISGRACE! Public Servants? HA! More like servants to the fat cat developers, land speculators, and slum lords!
    The way the Council slices off huge chunks of the “public land carcass” and serves it up to private interests is criminal!
    A law should have been enacted long ago, that says, “any public land must be used for the public good, not sold to raise funds, but for Social Housing, Public Parks, or other solely Publicly-intended projects, end-stop!”
    Every time I read about the Council and their acts of chicanery my blood pressure rises to historic levels. How do they consistently mismanage, finagle, outright trick us out of our assets, and worse make us pay for them to do it!
    Council Members should be thinking of creative ways to raise money for the Public INSTEAD OF selling off our most valuable assets!
    The Council should be putting in overtime sorting out the Parking fiasco, getting rid of the part time, work only when they need quick cash private parking contractors, to take back what is ours, and make up some of the deficit, BEFORE they come, cap in hand, to tell us, how it is necessary to raise our taxes to pay for the damage the Coronavirus has done to the Public Coffers!

  • Greenwich council has no interest in addressing the chronic housing shortage for those who cannot afford to buy or rent. It’s goal is to sell off every last piece of public land so that it can then say ‘we have no land on which to build’.

    The Meridian Home Start site makes the proud boast that a ‘Total of 700 affordable homes planned for Greenwich residents.’ That is scandalous.


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