Borough slammed for dumping vulnerable families in poor accommodation miles from home

Tendring housing chief Paul Honeywood has criticised the London borough's housing policy Picture: AR

Tendring housing chief Paul Honeywood has criticised the London borough's housing policy Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Vulnerable families have been uprooted and dumped in poor accommodation on the Essex coast, a council has claimed.

Tendring District Council (TDC) said people from London were being taken from their support networks and sent to Clacton where families with children were made to sleep on the floor.

Housing chiefs in Tendring said they had been forced to speak out after the London Borough of Havering failed to address the problem, despite repeat warnings.

TDC was first alerted to the situation in February when Havering residents sought support having all been moved to the same apartment building, where most had no furniture - not even beds.

Some families said they had been given one housing offer and told to “take it or leave it”.

TDC leader Neil Stock wrote three letters to Havering demanding the council take “full responsibility for their actions”.

While TDC said Havering admitted mistakes, none of the residents have yet been rehoused.

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TDC chief executive Ian Davidson and Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst, are seeking a meeting with their London counterparts.

Paul Honeywood, who is responsible for housing at TDC said: “We understand that London boroughs are facing severe housing pressures but they are not alone, and simply moving the problem elsewhere does nothing to tackle it. At the heart of every homeless application is a person, and that person should come first in whatever a local authority does. Homelessness is not just about a roof over your head, but access to support to get yourself back on your own two feet.

“Some of the people from Havering who have turned up at Clacton Town Hall asking for help have been moved more than an hour away from all of their support networks – friends, family, childcare and education, and even work. How can that be helping these people in the long-term?

Havering leader Damian White said the borough tried to provide accommodation locally but rising rents and reduced government funding meant it was not always possible. “We are not alone in facing this issue,” he added. “London as a whole, the Southeast of England and many cities throughout the UK are in exactly the same situation,” he added.

Mr White said the council planned to double its affordable housing offer over the next 10 years. “But this will take time to deliver and in the meantime our obligation to provide a roof over people’s heads must remain our number one priority.

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