Shelter's Eviction Risk Monitor published this month lists the London Borough of Brent as the 4th highest local authority in England for the proportion of mortgage and landlord possession claims. The three higher local authorities are all in Greater London: Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Haringey. The total between October 2010 and September 2011 in Brent is 2,435 a rate of 22.4 per 1,000 homes. These claims do not necessarily translate immediately into evictions but show how many people are struggling to meet their housing costs. The report, perhaps obviously, shows that high risk is associated with high local unemployment levels.
We already know that the number of evictions in the borough has increased prior to the housing benefit becoming operative and the Council expects an increasing number of claims for temporary housing in the new year. Temporary accommodation will have to be provided far away from Brent and 'temporary' may mean for up to 10 years.
Even without the cap, increasing unemployment, frozen wage; and higher energy and food costs, mean that people are finding it hard to pay their mortgages and rent. Shelter research suggests about one third of families are struggling. At the same time, just when families will need it most, the Coalition government is proposing removing legal aid from debt, housing, welfare, employment and family disputes. The Legal Aid and Punishment of Offender's Bill enters its committee stage in the House of Lords today.
Nothing could show more starkly how Coalition policies are impacting on the most vulnerable. The video above gives an insight into what it will mean for families.