Families are warned that if they refuse the housing the council will consider them to have become ‘intentionally homeless’ and withdraw support [Image: Dan Atkin/Alamy/Alamy].

It is not news that local authorities in London are trying to force people to move out of the city to new accommodation more than 100 miles away.

The BBC has made at least one documentary about attempts to force families out of the capital – and that was a considerable time ago.

No doubt those in charge of the authorities in question will make whatever claim seems appropriate to them, but this Guardian article points the finger at the real, underlying reason:

These councils no longer want to help the homeless; they simply want to reduce their list of homeless people – by artificial means.

A Tory government will let them get away with it, too – after all, it means London is rid of a few more poor people, making more room for the super-rich.

Instead, government should be legislating to ensure that councils cater for the genuine needs of their constituents.

But then, that would create a precedent that a Tory government could never follow.

A handful of London councils are making aggressive use of legal powers to make “take or leave it” offers of housing in locations far away from the capital in an attempt to permanently resettle hundreds of homeless families.

Officials are giving households 24 hours to accept private rented homes in the West Midlands, Essex and the south-east, warning that if they refuse the council will consider them to have become “intentionally homeless” and withdraw support.

Research seen by the Guardian suggests half of offers made by 28 councils in locations in the West Midlands, more than 100 miles from London, are rejected, suggesting that many families are prepared to risk becoming homeless again rather than be uprooted from jobs and family support networks.

Campaigners say some councils’ policy of offering homes several hours travel distance from the capital, despite evidence that most families will reject them as unsuitable for their needs, suggests that their priority is to reduce the size of the homeless list rather than genuinely help families.

In one case, Brent council offered a three-bedroomed private rented property in Telford, Shropshire to 11 homeless London families over a 12-month period. All refused or were deemed to have refused the property without viewing it. Nine of the families had jobs in the capital, and all had at least two children in local schools.

Source: London councils trying to force homeless families out of capital | Society | The Guardian

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