THE THURROCK Independent group have claimed that recent figures released by Thurrock Council showing the increasing number of homeless families housed permanently outside Thurrock prove that “social cleansing” has begun.
The number of families placed permanently in private rented accommodation outside the borough since May 1st is 35. Between May 1st 2017 and April 30th 2018 it was 15. According to the Thurrock Independent, we could see up to 115 families housed outside Thurrock by April of next year.
Thurrock Independent Party Leader, Cllr Luke Spillman, commented: “The figures show Thurrock Council’s homeless team are now actively housing homeless families in permanent housing outside of the borough.
“I have been a vocal critic of the department for many years. However, in this instance, I am truly saddened to report that it appears that they are doing so out of necessity rather than choice.
“The housing market is now so broken in Thurrock that private sector property rents are often 50% higher than most homeless families can afford to pay. Our available stock of social housing is not remotely adequate to meet the needs of Thurrock.
“Not a single council or housing association property has been built in Thurrock under this Conservative administration. They haven’t made a single concrete commitment or plan to do so. This Conservative administration has gone missing in regard to housing. They have fundamentally failed the people of Thurrock.
“Thurrock needs an administration which believes in building low cost homes which the people of Thurrock can afford to live in. Only by removing this failing Conservative administration, whose only interest appears to be meeting the housing needs of London, can we start to fight back against Thurrock’s housing crisis.
“Tragically, Thurrock Council itself appears to be in perpetual state of crisis at the moment.”
Responding to the figures, Deputy Leader of Thurrock Council, Cllr Shane Hebb, said: “Thurrock Council takes its obligations to households who are homeless, or threatened with homelessness, extremely seriously.
“The authority works hard to ensure that everyone it owes a housing duty to is offered safe, secure and suitable accommodation.
“Our first priority is to try and secure in-borough accommodation. In some events and circumstances, depending on the individual circumstances of the household concerned and the availability of appropriate accommodation, this may lead to accommodation outside of the borough.
“It is important that homeless people have a roof over their head, sometimes in a very time critical way, which means while Thurrock always aims and intends to house people in-borough as a priority, there are some placements which haven’t been possible in the borough.”