City’s homelessness figures have more than doubled

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MILTON Keynes Council has been accused of a “flawed” approach to housing after a survey showed a 114 per cent hike in city homelessness.

This is a bigger increase than anywhere else in the country, according to national magazine Inside Housing.

Now the city’s Labour group predicts this figure is set to carry on rising.

It claims Milton Keynes has spent years “pushing” homeless families into the low security, private rented sector.

On some estates such as Fishermead and Netherfield, there are huge numbers of houses of multiple occupancy where many people are living in overcrowded conditions.

But, according to housing experts Shelter, private lettings are resulting in more homelessness as a growing number of tenants are evicted by their private landlords.

“Milton Keynes Council has been operating a harsh attitude for some years with a very strange approach to allocations to all social housing,” said Labour spokesman Councillor Steve Coventry.

He is demanding a full investigation into the council’s methods of dealing with homelessness and allocations.

“It looks like the council’s approach is seriously flawed,” he said.

The 114 per cent equates to 180 households who were accepted as homeless last year. This compares to 84 the previous year.

“This is a blight on Milton Keynes and could be the start of the return to the huge level of homelessness we saw in the Thatcher years,” said Councillor Coventry.

He is also worried that rising inflation and cuts leading to job losses will make the homelessness problem even worse next year.

“Once interest rates start to rise we could see a huge rise in repossessions and evictions from the private rented sector.

“The council must prepare for this and minimise the damage it would cause.”