Essex councils have welcomed a response from London mayor Sadiq Khan to their protest about the way the capital’s boroughs accommodate homeless families in the county.
Leaders of Essex CC, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock BCs, and all 12 Essex districts, wrote to Mr Khan and leaders of London’s 32 boroughs just before Christmas to voice concerns about lack of communication when homeless families are sent to Essex, the use of inadequate housing for them and their impact on local services.
Tendring DC leader Neil Stock (Con), who chairs the Essex Leaders and Chief Executives Group, called the actions of some of the London boroughs “despicable” and said they had ignored the concerns of Essex councils.
He said, when the letter was sent just before Christmas: “We don’t want to stop people moving to the county [but] this needs to be in the right way and because people want to move here, not because they are being forced to or financially encouraged to by their London council as way of removing a problem.”
Cllr Stock said Tendring had seen cases where families with young children were “placed in poor quality accommodation with no furniture, or two hours away from their job in London meaning they have to move back and sofa surf during the week just to maintain their income”.
But Cllr Stock said a letter from Mr Khan last week was “encouraging”, as the mayor had “offered to be part of our conversations with London boroughs who have operational control and ultimate responsibility for this issue”, and to jointly lobby the government.