Letter: Government reforms should be more accommodating

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The Independent Online
Sir: The authors of the letter from the King's Cross Homelessness Project have got their facts wrong about Westminster City Council's record on housing the homeless. (Letter from Ms Michelle Burrell and Ms Layla Qureshi, 17 January). It is not true that Westminster has 'more than 1,000 homeless families in temporary accommodation, three-quarters of whom have been placed outside the borough'. By the end of last year there were 873 homeless families in temporary accommodation, and only 212 of those were in bed and breakfast accommodation, none of which is, as alleged, of poor quality.

Only 379 of those 873 families are awaiting permanent rehousing. In 1992/93, the City Council provided permanent homes for 1,297 homeless households. More than 80 per cent of these households were housed in Westminster; the remainder either had no local connection with the borough (in terms of jobs, education, family) or requested to be housed outside the borough.

Incidentally, Hackney, Newham, Haringey, Tower Hamlets and Camden house at least 200 more households outside their borders than Westminster does.

Yours faithfully,

MILES YOUNG

Leader of the Council

City of Westminster

London SW1

20 January

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