Council Housing Crisis In Lewisham: 2,300 Families In Temporary Accomodation

Lewisham Council has set up its own building company in an attempt to curb the effects of the housing crisis in South London.

By Anon, Lewisham · May 29, 2020

Housing in Lewisham
Pic: Shutterstock

Lewisham, like the rest of London, is in the middle of a housing crisis with 2,300 families in Lewisham in temporary accommodation and 700 people paying a nightly fee for a safe place to sleep.

The borough council is using its company, Lewisham Homes, to build and develop more buildings to meet their statutory duty of ensuring residents have a safe place to live.

However according to official statistics there were 201 fewer council homes in their stock in 2017/18 compared to 2018/2019.

Since launching its Building for Lewisham initiative, at least ten projects have been completed ranging from the adaptation of a former school caretaker’s home into affordable rent home to the controversial conversion of the former Ladywell Leisure Centre site into 24 temporary homes since 2016.

The site on the High Street is due to be transformed into 200 permanent homes but the team behind the development have submitted an extension of the deadline of 24 March 2020.

Lewisham Homes has also converted three underused garages into a five-storey block of 18 flats and a four-storey block of seven homes.

The majority of the council homes, which accounts for 11,633 properties are flats and maisonettes. 

Figures from housing charity Shelter show the average council rent for one-bed flat in Lewisham at £84.97 per week, rising to £95.54 for a two-bed, and £111.81 for a three-bed in 2018/19.

According to Foxtons estate agents, the average private rent in Lewisham is £432 per week, ranging from £323 to £554 per week.

Despite being significantly cheaper than the private sector, the council had £501,000 more in social rent arrears from 2017/18 to 2018/19. 

Lewisham Council has included a stipulation in their housing allocations scheme that future tenants must pay off their rent arrears before they can be offered any accommodation.

Lewisham council has temporarily suspended choice-based lettings, which means their team is focussing on emergency cases during the Covid 19 pandemic.