Urgent call for more homes on World Homelessness Day

At Capital Letters, we are driven by a profound sense of purpose – to alleviate the suffering of families who find themselves without a place to call home.

Our commitment to supporting families experiencing homelessness is unwavering.

On this day dedicated to the awareness of the global homelessness crisis, we’re raising our voices to call for more homes and a rise in the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate.

Mark Lowe, our Director of Finance and Resources said, “There are almost 170,000 people living in Temporary Accommodation (TA) in London alone. These are the hidden homeless, families with a place to sleep but no home.”

Figures from London Councils suggest that in April this year the number of homeless families placed in bed and breakfast accommodation for longer than the six-week legal time limit increased by a shocking 781% – up from 146 in April 2022 to 1,287 in April 2023.

Mark continued, “This isn’t just a personal story of hardship for all the families in TA; it’s bad for society as a whole – children are missing school, people are losing jobs as they may have to accept accommodation hours from where they work, and the public purse is being squeezed as London boroughs are together spending at least £60 million a week on temporary accommodation costs. No one is free from the effects of this crisis, and we need a long-term solution.”

In our call for addressing the homelessness crisis, we support the widespread call for an increase in the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate. The LHA rate is a crucial lifeline for those reliant on benefits, enabling them to pay towards private rented homes. However, a freeze in LHA rates since 2020 has had a profound impact, leaving fewer than 2.6% of homes available at LHA rates, compared to a more equitable 30% before the pandemic struck.

“In a market like this we can’t just wait for LHA to be increased” said Mark Lowe “So we’re working with larger investment organisations, development partners, and our members, to take on portfolios of leases, offering some at market rent, which subsidises some at LHA rates. It needs to be financially viable for investors and we have a model that works.”

It’s important on World Homelessness Day to acknowledge the organisations that want to support Capital Letters, putting value back into society, helping those families have settled lives, making London a more vibrant city. It’s those organisations that understand that value extends beyond inflated profit margins and that it’s about making society better for everyone.