Homeless household numbers in Greenwich reach record high

A report before Greenwich Council’s Cabinet next week reveals that the number of homeless households continues to rise and now sits at 1,636.

That’s an increase from 1,528 the quarter before, and up from 740 in Q1 2018/19.

Click to enlarge. Rapid increase in homeless households in emergency housing since 2018/19

The latest figures relate to Q2 2021/22 (covering July to September 2021). That record high came shortly before Greenwich Council celebrated completing part one of three Woolwich estate redevelopments that sees a mass reduction in social homes. As part of the “One Woolwich” scheme, housing increases across three estates from 1,064 to 1,615 yet just 35 per cent is “affordable” – which also includes shared ownership.

Morris Walk rebuild plans

Social housing numbers are down over 650 across the project. Boris Johnson supported Greenwich Council’s plan in 2014, noting that phase 1 at Connaught Estate meant “at present there are 303 affordable units on site, which are provided as social rent. The proposals will provide 241 affordable units (35%), as a split of 169 rent and 72 intermediate, which represents a net loss in the quantum of affordable units of 62 units (and a net loss of 134 social rented units).

This is contrary to London Plan policy 3.14 which sets out that any “loss of housing, including affordable housing, should be resisted unless the housing is replaced at existing or higher densities with at least equivalent floorspace”.

Phase two of the overall “one Woolwich” project covers Morris Walk, which was approved last year and continued the theme with a reduction in social homes from 500 to 167.

New builds

The authority have launched their Greenwich Builds program of 750 homes, though it’s running just to stand still when so many homes have been lost elsewhere.

The program so far appears to have had little impact on demand for social housing. As a result of the social housing shortage, people are housed in expensive private lettings or B&Bs. This is contributing to ever higher costs to both central Government and councils. Greenwich regularly go over budget, and have done so again.

Budget overspends regularly seen

These figures of course are not the total spend on temporary housing, but merely the latest overspends on already substantial sums.

Other plans such as 300+ council homes in Kidbrooke – welcome though they are – are also unlikely to make much of dent by the time of completion given what has been lost and strong demand.

Buildings will top out at 18 floors in Woolwich

We also know that just 23 net new social homes are planned in Woolwich on public land as part of the 500+ home mixed-use leisure centre project. 27 existing homes will be replaced like-for-like. That means just 50 new social homes – around five per cent of the total.

Overview of Woolwich site

Peabody have also failed to build at a number of Housing Zone sites in the borough, which have the opportunity to assist. They are at sites not included as part of 20,000 with require a public transport connection such as the DLR.

Click to enlarge. Housing Zone sites announced seven years ago. Very few developed

Central Government have severely hampered supply of social housing through limited grand funding and restrictions on how Right to Buy income can be spent.

With the new Housing Minister Stuart Andrew appointed by Boris Jonson last week a landlord himself and someone who voted against numerous protections for tenants, it’s unlikely much will change soon. Taxpayers and those in need of secure housing will continue to bear the brunt.



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I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

    2 thoughts on “Homeless household numbers in Greenwich reach record high

    • More must be done to help homeless people. Including getting to the heart of the matter why they as are homeless. For example rent arrears, debt, addiction, relationship breakdown etc.

      We also need to safeguard family members who have lived with parents or other relatives all their lives who are then rendered homeless when the older relatives pass on. These people should be driven automatic tenancies or added to existing tenancy agreements.Even if it means downsizing to a smaller property when the time comes.

      We also need to see a lot more social housing built for rent at affordable tent.

    • When you are unfortunately made homeless you need to register in the Borough where you were living and had your last address. For example if you were living in Bexley for you would have to report as homeless with Bexley Council rather than with Greenwich Borough. You need to have a proven link to to the Borough you are reporting as homeless in or they cannot support you.

      Mote must be done to prevent homelessness looking in to why you will become homeless and how we can prevent you from losing your home. Lack of social housing and high private tents are both adding to the problems along with properties that have remained empty for years which could be converted to housing to house homeless people.


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