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London boroughs blamed for 'dumping' homeless households in Slough

Homelessness is ‘here to stay’ in Slough because neighbouring authorities are ‘dumping’ dispossessed households in the area, a housing officer has said.

Members of Slough Borough Council’s cabinet met on Monday to discuss the authority’s plan to tackle rough sleeping in the town over the next five years.

Colin Moone, lead for housing services, told the meeting the council is facing an increased demand for accommodation due to homeless households from neighbouring authorities being sent to Slough.

“Homelessness is here to stay in Slough, unfortunately, because a lot of our neighbours are dumping homeless households in our borough that we have to pick up,” he said.

“It’s a significant problem and we’re picking up the demand from other areas and it’s a demand we’ve not seen before.”

The council’s Homelessness Prevention Strategy said the town’s location on the outskirts of London made it an ‘ideal location’ for the capital’s boroughs to place its homeless households.

Between September 2016 to August 2017, 178 households from London were placed in Slough.

A council spokeswoman said it has contacted the relevant authorities for the updated figures.

The council has set itself key objectives to reduce homelessness as part of its Homelessness Prevention Strategy.

These include early intervention to prevent homelessness, increasing access to housing options and reducing the time people spend in temporary accommodation.

The meeting was told that there are 440 households in temporary accommodation in the borough, down from 470 in July last year.

Council leader James Swindlehurst told the meeting that a housing allowance cap introduced by Government in 2016 had played a big part in driving people out of their homes.

He said: “The cap to local housing allowance effectively makes it impossible for many people to pay their rent.

“That single change has been one of the things that has massively exposed people to risk and I don’t think we should look at this as failing ourselves.”

Cabinet voted to approve the Homelessness Prevention Strategy which will run until 2024.

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